2020 Astronaut Scholars Nominees

Texas A&M Undergraduates Alexandra Bishop ‘21, Cody Martin ‘21, Maxwell Throm ‘21, and Johnathan Lo ‘21 have been nominated for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s 2020 Astronaut Scholarship. 

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) seeks to support the brightest scholars in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts. The ASF has supported undergraduate students across the nation in pursuing their education for more than 30 years. The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest and one of the most significant merit-based scholarships in STEM fields that can be awarded to an undergraduate. Students must be nominated by faculty based on achievements in their chosen field. Out of a select pool of 42 Universities who are invited to nominate their best and brightest, ASF typically chooses one recipient from each school. However, Texas A&M undergraduate students have proved themselves to be incredibly strong candidates and ASF has awarded multiple scholarships to our students in a single year. 

Texas A&M University has had 32 honorees since the scholarship was established in 1984 by the surviving Mercury 7 astronauts. More than 100 astronauts have contributed to the cause, resulting in over $4 million in scholarships. 

The LAUNCH office wishes all four of the 2020 nominees all the best while final selections are being made. 

Alexandra Bishop ’21

Alexandra Bishop is a junior biology major with minors in bioinformatics and philosophy from Kingwood, Texas who will be graduating from A&M in May 2021. She has conducted research in the Ecological Systems Laboratory under Dr. Hsiao-Hsuan (Rose) Wang since her freshman year, and spent this past year working on her undergraduate thesis through the Undergraduate Research Scholars program developing an ecological model to predict determining factors for environmentally triggered anthrax outbreaks. Last summer, she conducted research in the Kavraki Laboratory at Rice University under Dr. Dinler Antunes through the Gulf Coast Consortia’s Computational Cancer Biology Training Program developing a computational tool that will be able to predict cross reactivity for new cancer immunotherapy treatments. As a whole, her research focuses on using computational tools to further our knowledge of different diseases, and ultimately apply that knowledge hands-on in the medical field. She is a member of Texas A&M’s University Honors Program, an Undergraduate Research Ambassador, a President’s Endowed Scholar, and a member of the Texas A&M Women’s Lacrosse team. This next year she will be applying to M.D./Ph.D. programs in order to further her interest in infectious disease.

Cody Martin ’21

Cody Martin is a junior Biochemistry and Genetics double major and Bioinformatics and Statistics double minor, from Red Oak, Texas. Cody has been conducting his research in Dr. Ry Young’s lab, studying how bacteriophages escape from the host cell after infection, a process called lysis. Cody’s Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis described his studies on the regulation of an unusual gradual lysis system and its evolutionary origin. As a freshman, Cody was selected to be an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Scholar, one of only two freshmen so designated that year. He recently was awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholar, a prestigious National Fellowship for undergraduates that show extraordinary potential for STEM research careers. In his free time, Cody participates in the Biochemistry and Genetics Society and has been a leader in the Freshman Leadership Experience for the past three years. He plans to pursue PhD programs related to microbiology or molecular biology to pursue a career focused on using bacterial systems as a model for molecular evolution.

Johnathan Lo ’21

Johnathan Lo is a junior at Texas A&M, earning dual degrees in Cell and Molecular Biology and Statistics. He hails from East Brunswick, NJ by way of Austin, and conducts research in the Blackmon Lab, where he investigates topics in quantitative genetics and evolutionary biology. His primary interests are creating computationally efficient bioinformatics software and applications of survival analysis and game theory to more effectively acquire data and accurately describe cooperative behavior mathematically. Thus far, his research has resulted in two publications, including a featured first author, as well as four additional publications in progress, two of which will also be first authors. Johnathan was recently awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, a National Fellowship that recognizes extraordinary accomplishment and potential for a career in STEM research. He is a member of the Biology Honors program, Phi Kappa Phi, TAMU Zoological Society and SUSA. Outside of research, he is an accomplished violinist, avid sportsman, and amateur competitive programmer. He plans on pursuing a PhD in mathematical and theoretical biology.

Maxwell Throm ’21

Maxwell Throm is a junior physics and mathematics double major from San Antonio, Texas. He is currently conducting research with Dr. Alexy Beliyanin, studying quantum optics, specifically cavity quantum electrodynamics and how this system can be used to further quantum computing. Previously he had studied dark matter with Dr. Roland Allen, which resulted in a first author publication. Maxwell is a Student Instructor and an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Mr. Throm is also heavily involved in the Texas A&M Physics’ outreach program, assisting Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova in the planning and preparation of the annual Physics Festival. Maxwell says, “outreach is important to me because I want to be able to inspire kids to learn and love physics the way I do”. His plan after graduation is to attend graduate school for physics, and become a professor of physics.

To read more about how LAUNCH: National Fellowships helps prepare outstanding students to compete for nationally-competitive awards such as the Astronaut Scholarship with the generous support of the Association of Former Students, please visit http://natlfellows.tamu.edu.