Alexander Metcalf, a senior aerospace engineering major in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, has been named 2021-22 Astronaut Scholar by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). Founded by the…
Four Questions for Astronaut Scholar Jordan Barrett
From an academic standpoint, 2017 has been a very good year for Jordan Barrett ’18. Barrett is a senior physics and mathematics major in the College of Arts and Sciences and a participant in the Renée Crown University Honors Program. In May, he was one of two Syracuse University Students to be honored with a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship (Maizy Ludden is the other, and a third student, Ismael Gonzalez, received honorable mention). In June, Barrett was named a recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation award. And just last month, he attended a gala event in Washington, D.C., for Astronaut Scholars nationwide. He recently had a few free moments to answer four questions from Syracuse University News.
01Tell us about the gala event you recently attended in D.C. with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Specifically, how did it all come about, and how was the event itself?
The Innovator’s Gala was held for the first time this year, in celebration of the new class of Astronaut Scholars. It was a really fantastic experience. In addition to professional development workshops, networking opportunities with various industry leaders and a tour of the National Air and Space Museum, we had the good fortune to interact with astronauts like Michael Collins (of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon) and Al Worden (of Apollo 15). It was really a childhood dream come true.
02Has the Astronaut Scholarship afforded you any other opportunities you didn't anticipate, or that you have found to be particularly enriching?
Most of what we did in D.C. was geared toward students looking to do industry work after graduation, and in particular students who study aerospace engineering. However, spending a weekend with a group of genuinely brilliant students was amazing.
03Where did your interest in the U.S. space program originate?
The history of NASA and the Apollo missions in particular speak to most students of physics, I think. They represent former impossibilities that were only made possible by the dedication of scientists, engineers and mathematicians across the country.
04Where do you hope all of this (the scholarship, your educational experience at SU) takes you in the future?
I plan to pursue a Ph.D., and eventually to become a professor and research scientist.