Yuricich Wins Xploration Outer Space Student Astronaut Contest

Posted: September 30, 2015

Aerospace engineering student and Hilliard, Ohio native Jillian Yuricich has wanted to be an astronaut since she was five years old. In September, she came one step closer to attaining her goal as an active proponent of space exploration.

Yuricich got a surprise video message from Fox's XPloration Outer Space host Emily Calandrelli in her aeronautics class letting her know she won the #StudentAstronaut Contest, presented by Fox in partnership with Project PoSSUM. The program gives students who are passionate about science and space exploration the opportunity to train as a scientist-astronaut.  PoSSUM Academy is a training program designed and instructed by former NASA astronaut instructors and PoSSUM team scientists. 

Yuricich’s compelling submission video (above) beat dozens of competition hopefuls.  Videotaped last summer at her grandparent’s farm where she grew up stargazing as a young girl, her video focused on the importance of space exploration, what it means to the future of the human race and that aerospace advocacy is a goal that takes all sorts of people with a variety of talents.

As winner of the competition, Yuricich will go through the program with Emily Calandrelli and will be featured in a season two episode of Xploration Outer Space, exploring the suborbital science industry and what students will need to know to be part of this new wave of research.

In 2014 and 2015, Yuricich won a prestigious Astronaut Scholarship, the first Ohio State student to be awarded a scholarship by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, created in 1984 by the six surviving members of the Mercury 7 astronauts to help retain world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for students who demonstrate motivation, imagination and high performance. 

Yuricich participated in a NASA Ames Research internship doing research in the world’s largest wind tunnel and was an intern for two summers with the Navy at Patuxent River, Maryland working on future aircraft concepts and participating as a flight test engineer.

Dr. Alan J. Wadock, an aerospace engineer at NASA Ames, supported Yuricich’s nomination.  “Ms. Yuricich demonstrated initiative, responsibility and a problem-solving attitude that inspired all of the researchers she worked with.”

Yuricich, a senior, is excited to represent Buckeye engineers as an ambassador for space exploration.  “The adventure today is about worldwide camaraderie in science and technology to benefit the entire world,” she said.  “Space exploration is a mission we can accomplish together.”


Category: Undergraduate