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Three Beaverton students earn space camp scholarships

by: Submitted photos Chloe Chiu, Alex Moore and Arman Talkar each earned space camp scholarships on Tuesday.

Three Beaverton students were awarded scholarships Tuesday morning to study the science of space this summer at the U.S. Space Academy or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Hillsdale, presented the awards at the students' individual schools - one day after space shuttle Endeavor's final launch - as part of his 10th annual Space Camp Scholarship Competition.

Astronaut Stanley Love, who traveled to the International Space Station on the Endeavor's 24th mission, joined Wu at the presentations.

Two Beaverton students, Arman Talkar, 13, and Chloe Chiu, 10, received grand prizes of scholarships to the U.S. Space Academy in Huntsville, Ala.

Runners-up Alex Moore, 10, of Hiteon Elementary School in Beaverton, and Andie Jo Whitlow, 10, of Yamhill, received scholarships to OMSI's summer space camp program.

The four students were selected from a pool of 70 applicants, a record number for Wu's program, said Rachel Jagoda Brunette, the congressman's spokeswoman.

Entrants were asked to write an essay imagining a world without spaceflight or devising a science experiment that could be conducted in space.

Talkar, a seventh-grader at Summa Academy South at Whitford Middle School, received the grand prize for 'Piezoelectric Bubble,' his essay on the possibility of colonizing Mars.

Chiu, a fifth-grader at Elmonica Elementary School, also earned a U.S. Space Academy scholarship based on her essay defending federal investments in the U.S. space program.

In 'Piezoelectric Bubble,' Talkar detailed new technology that would allow human life on Mars if Earth were to become overcrowded or unfit for living.

'Unless we can clean up our act on Earth,' he wrote, 'Mars looks like the next step for humanity. By no means is colonizing Mars a routine task. Many roadblocks stand in our way. One of these impediments is an energy source.'

Chiu's essay stood up for the ongoing relevance and value of the NASA.

'Consider(ing) NASA only receives less than 1 percent of the national budget,' she wrote, 'the returns in technological developments are well worth it.'

Wu, a member of the House committees on education and workforce and science and technology, has sponsored the essay contest for 10 years as part of his Education and Opportunity Fund.

He praised the students for their visionary thinking and expression.

'These young people already embody the curiosity and imagination necessary to be the next leaders of our innovation society,' he said. 'I am pleased to help them ignite their imaginations and explore the rich possibilities of space and science education.'

Founded in 1982, the U.S. Space Camp promotes the study of math, science and technology through hands-on activities for students in fourth grade through high school.

For information, visit www.spacecamp.com .

OMSI's Flight Team and Space Flight camps, held in July, let students participate in activities such as exploring the sun, crash-landing on the moon and building and launching rockets.

For more information, visit www.omsi.edu .