USRA Distinguished Undergraduate Awards

The USRA Distinguished Undergraduate Awards provide college scholarship awards to students who have shown a career interest in science or engineering with an emphasis on space research or space science education, and aeronautics-related sciences.


USRA presents up to four scholarship awards to undergraduate students each fall as part of its Distinguished Undergraduate Award program.

Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students attending a four-year accredited college or university that offers courses leading to a degree in science or engineering. Applicants must be within two (2) years of earning a B.S. or a B.A. in a field of science and engineering, including life science and science education by the time the award is received. Scholarship awards are made in the fall, with applications accepted during the summer.

Detailed eligibility, application requirements, and the application form are available here.  Applications are now being accepted for the 2024 awards.  The application deadline is August 7, 2024.


  • Thomas R. McGetchin Memorial Scholarship Award
    This scholarship award honors the late Thomas R. McGetchin, former Lunar and Planetary Institute Director, for his significant contributions in the area of volcanic and igneous processes, work accomplished through field, experimental, and theoretical investigations of volcanic activity on Earth, the Moon, and Mars. One-time award of $5000.
  • John R. Sevier Memorial Scholarship Award
    During his 22 years of service to USRA, Sevier served as Acting Director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and as Deputy Director of the Division of Space Life Sciences. This memorial scholarship award honors his dedication to education and advancements in aerospace technology. One-time award of $5000.
  • James B. Willett Educational Memorial Scholarship Award
    This scholarship award recognizes the efforts of the late James B. Willett, a noted astrophysicist who worked with USRA through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA Headquarters. One-time award of $5000.
  • Frederick A. Tarantino Memorial Scholarship Award
    This scholarship award recognizes the late Frederick A. Tarantino, USRA President and CEO from 2006 - 2014, in recognition of his many contributions to USRA and his dedication to furthering the education of young scientists and engineers in space science related fields. One-time award of $5000.
  • Judith L. Pipher Memorial Scholarship Award
    This scholarship award recognizes the late Judy Pipher for her contributions to infrared astronomy, her mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers, and her many contributions to USRA as a member of the Board of Trustees, the representative for University of Rochester, and the Chair of the USRA SOFIA Science Council. One-time award of $5000.

Students will be matched to the scholarship most appropriate for their area of study.