Jacob Florian is a recipient of the 2020 Astronaut Scholarship! Currently a Junior in the College of Engineering, Jacob is a Chemical Engineering major and hopes to pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering following his undergraduate career.
The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was created to ensure that the United States would maintain its leadership in science and technology by supporting some of the very best science and engineering college students. The Astronaut Scholarship, created in 1984 to honor the Mercury 7 astronauts, provides $10,000 award to students in math, science, and engineering.
Jacob, a Chemical Engineering major, said he only had a vague idea of wanting to pursue a research career in engineering when he first arrived at U-M, but his time in Professor Bryan Goldsmith's computational catalysis lab made it clear that was where his passions lay. "I saw that a research career can be meaningful and interesting when I am solving hard problems with a possibility for a real impact," he says. "Because this was also a collaboration with experiments, I saw how theory and experiment can complement each other and answer challenging research questions."
During his undergraduate career thus far, Jacob has also completed a summer REU with Nobel Laureate Dr. Arieh Warshel at the University of Southern California and was an Amgen Scholar with Dr. Cynthia Friend at Harvard.
In addition to the $10,000 award, the Astronaut Scholarship also provides recipients an expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the Innovators Gala featuring the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence; the opportunity to present their research at the Scholar Technical Conference; the opportunity to participate in the Michael Collins Family Professional Development Program; and membership in the Astronaut Scholar Honor Society with mentoring from senior scholars, research industry executives, or NASA astronauts.
Jacob is also a 2020 Goldwater Scholar. Read more U-M's 2020 Goldwater Scholars here.