Geosciences student wins Astronaut Scholarship for second year in a row

Dec 11, 2014

Amélie Berger, junior environmental geosciences student from Paris, France, is one of 30 students nationwide to be awarded a prestigious scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. This is the second year in a row that a student in the College of Geosciences has received the award.

Berger will receive a $10,000 scholarship in recognition of “her unique aptitude for research and ingenuity in science and technology,” according to the award letter.

"I am so honored to have received such a prestigious award. It really motivates me to continue in my field of study, and also gives me a strong sense of responsibility towards the foundation, who is showing faith in me and my abilities. I hope my research will help societies understand and adapt to a changing planet.”Berger said."

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) was established in 1984 by the six surviving members of America’s original Mercury Seven astronauts. ASF makes these scholarships available nationwide to college students who exhibit leadership, imagination, and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). These scholarships are the highest monetary awards given to undergraduate STEM students based solely on merit in the United States. Astronauts from the foundation make personal visits in the fall to each recipient’s university to present the scholarship check.

“Amélie shows the greatest promise of the undergraduates with whom I have worked in terms of becoming a leader in the interdisciplinary field of environmental sciences,” said Dr. Oliver Frauenfeld, assistant professor of Geography and Berger’s mentor. “She has amassed an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge and research experience in her time at Texas A&M.”

Berger is involved in the Honors Fellows Program and the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program at Texas A&M. She also participates in the college’s recruitment programs and serves as a peer mentor. This summer, she is researching natural resources in Fiji and Australia through Texas A&M’s Study Abroad Program. Berger has also contributed to a submitted peer-reviewed publication to the journal Biotropica. She plans to continue her studies in climate science and sustainability in graduate school, with the goal of teaching at the university level.

Berger said she takes honor in helping America stay at the forefront of science and technology.

"I would like to thank the professors I have had at a&m, as well as Dr. Sumana Datta for her support during the application process. I would especially like to thank Dr. Debbie Thomas for getting me started in research as a freshman, and Dr. Oliver Frauenfeld for his tremendous support and guidance over the past year and a half. I would not have come this far without the dedication of such amazing mentors." Berger says