I am excited to announce that plans for the return of the Future Voyager Scholarship (FVS) are underway! Trying to navigate fundraising and awarding a scholarship during a pandemic was incredibly challenging. I decided to put FVS on hold for the time being considering the ethical concerns with fundraising during an especially straining financial and emotional period. During that time I had an opportunity to rethink and revamp the scholarship. I am excited to announce those developments here!
First and foremost, the underlying purpose of FVS has always been to offer young students tools that they would otherwise not have access to to grow their interest in the sciences. I especially wanted to provide the scholarship to students who are especially in need and/or underrepresented. After further thought, I came to the conclusion that I cannot expect a middle schooler to be able to fully convey the inequalities they are facing, the burdens they bear (which they might not realize are abnormal yet), nor the systemic pressure they feel. Due to this, I am hoping to award the scholarship to a school or a classroom instead of an individual student. This will make it easier to reach our target group and reach more young students. Further, this will give us an opportunity to showcase exceptional students, classes, schools, and teachers who may otherwise not get recognition. Although the newest recipient has not been decided on yet, I am looking at middle schools in Harlem as likely candidates.
For fundraising, I have a few plans and ideas in the works to expand fundraising. Space First will be collaborating with BlueShift, the Columbia University astronomy club, on fundraising. One of the events we are hoping to have is a telescope observation night, where optional donations are accepted. Further, I am considering setting up a music and talent showcase fundraiser, where individuals play music and perform for an audience that has donated to the fund.
I am ecstatic that FVS is finally making a return! I will continue to post updates here. Please feel free to reach out or comment with ideas of suggestions!