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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Former astronaut visits Aggieland, awards scholarships

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Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke Jr., retired astronaut, visited Texas A&M. 

Rudder Auditorium filled with students and families eager to hear the story of an astronaut’s journey to the moon and to celebrate the scientific achievements of two Texas A&M students.
On Thursday, Charles Moss “Charlie” Duke Jr., an astronaut, retired U.S. Air Force officer and test pilot, visited A&M to share his story of becoming the 10th and youngest person to walk on the moon. He was one of the 19 chosen by NASA in April 1966 for their fifth astronaut group.
Duke explored the moon’s terrain with Commander John Young and Command Module Pilot T.K. Mattingly during the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. Duke said there was a half moon when the mission landed.
“When my wife Dotty and I go out and we see this, it brings back a lot of memories,” Duke said. “I still look up like ‘There I was.’”
Duke is part of the Board of Directors for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, which awards 50 scholarships to college students around the country. He presented $10,000 scholarships to two A&M students in the STEM program on behalf of the ASF.
Biology senior Ashley Hayden is one of the two scholarship recipients.
“I am very honored to have received this scholarship,” Hayden said. “I wasn’t expecting to actually get it. A lot of networking has come out of this and I have enjoyed meeting everyone. I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been given.”
Hayden has conducted research over the migration trails of monarch butterflies. She spoke about a group of monarchs taken to space for scientific study and said they must have felt lost in the different environment. Hayden said she could relate to that feeling when she first came to A&M as a first-generation college student and didn’t know what to do.
“I want anyone to know who is struggling through something that they can make it through because if I could make it up here on this stage, then everyone can also make it,” Hayden said.
The second ASF scholarship recipient is biomedical engineering senior Ashley Holt, who plans to pursue an M.D. and a PhD after graduation.
“I am in awe, it was such an incredible moment to receive something like this that will allow me to continue in my future plans,” Holt said. “Now it’s just about finishing up here and onto the next step.”
Holt had the opportunity this past summer to conduct research outside of A&M at the National Institutes of Health, where she searched for the location of a protein which could be connected to caloric cancer. According to Holt, this research motivated her to leave an impact on the field of medicine and to become the researcher she aspires to be.
“We are not the only students at A&M capable of such things,” Hayden said. “We have exceptional peers who are equally talented, and who have the chances to receive great opportunities.”

 

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