March, 2012

Patrick Breysse is the 2011 winner of the Astronaut Scholarship. He is a senior at Penn State studying Physics and Astronomy. Patrick spoke to the University Fellowships Office about his recent success.

How has your receiving this scholarship affected your academic career?
This scholarship paid all of the remaining tuition for my senior year at Penn State. It also has given me a nice advantage on graduate school applications. Also, getting this scholarship from such a prestigious group has helped confirm my desire to pursue a career in physics research.

What are some ways this scholarship particularly benefited you and your specific goals? Why did you pick this particular scholarship to apply to over others?
The goals of the astronaut scholarship aligned closely with what I want to do with my life. This scholarship was designed to foster research and innovation in all areas of science, and nothing appeals to me more than the chance to do my own research and find out something new about the universe.

Why do you encourage other students to apply for similar scholarships?
Besides the obvious financial help these scholarships provide, it’s always helpful to get recognition for the work you’ve done. It would also be a big help in the future, whether applying for a job or for graduate school.

Besides academically, how has this scholarship impacted your life?
My parents are paying for my Penn State tuition, and I have two brothers who will shortly be starting college as well. That’s a lot of tuition money for them to pay, so this scholarship is very helpful to them.

How do you think this opportunity will benefit you in the future?
I’m currently working on applications for graduate physics programs. Having a scholarship from a prestigious organization strengthens my applications and improves my chances of getting into the schools I’m applying to.

What are your future academic goals?
Next year I plan to start working on earning a Ph.D. in physics. After that I want to pursue a career in physics research and get a job as a professor at a research university.