Astronaut to Give Public Talk, Deliver Award to UA Student
Cameron Upchurch, a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology, will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation on Sept. 28.

By Jennifer Fitzenberger, UA Foundation
Sept. 26, 2011

Space Shuttle astronaut Fred Gregory will present University of Arizona student Cameron Upchurch with a $10,000 scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, or ASF, during a public presentation and ceremony on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in the UA's Gerard P. Kuiper Space Sciences Building, Room 308.

While there, Gregory will share his experiences of flying on three shuttle missions and spending more than 18 days in space. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"Cameron is a clear leader in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Arizona," said Gregory. "He is a prime example of everything an Astronaut Scholar is supposed to be: intelligent, perseverant and destined for greatness. I am honored to have the opportunity to present this award to such a worthy UA student."

Upchurch is a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology. His goal is to become an independent biomedical researcher who expands the current understanding of basic scientific principles and who directly adapts his research into medical treatments.

Upchurch said he is especially interested in cellular transplantation, which he predicts will become a revolutionary field of science in the future. His projected graduation date is May 2012, which will make him the first member of his family to earn a college diploma.

The Astronaut Scholarship is the largest monetary award given in the U.S. to science and engineering undergraduate students based solely on merit.

Twenty-six of these prestigious awards were dispersed this year through the ASF to outstanding college students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math. More than $3 million has been awarded in scholarships to date.

This is the first year an Astronaut Scholar has been selected at the UA.

"This recognition is yet another example of how the University of Arizona is among our nation's leaders in higher education for the STEM fields," said UA President Eugene G. Sander. "We are incredibly pleased for both Cameron and the University to have been selected for such a prestigious honor."

Gregory is a veteran of three shuttle missions, commanding two of them. He was selected for astronaut training in 1978 after serving four years as a research test pilot at NASA's Langley Research Center.

During his career as an astronaut, Gregory piloted Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51B and commanded Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-33 and Atlantis on STS-44.

Between 1992 and 2005, he led the agency safety and mission assurance office, the human space flight office and served as NASA's deputy administrator and acting administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2004 and currently serves on the ASF Board of Directors.

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to aid the U.S. in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in these fields.

ASF has awarded more than $3 million to deserving students nationwide. Today, more than 80 astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs have joined in this effort.

The UA Foundation is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing the UA. Managing an existing asset base of more than $650 million, the UA Foundation has helped generate more than $2 billion in private funding to support the University.

Extra info


Public talk by Space Shuttle astronaut Fred Gregory


Gerard P. Kuiper Space Sciences Building, Room 308


Wednesday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.

For more information, call 321-455-7013 or log on to


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Stephanie Balzer

UA Foundation