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Monday, June 17, 2024

Brilliant young girl wins $15,000 US scholarship, set to become a Chemical Engineer

A brilliant girl named Kristi Barnes has won the United States Astronaut Scholarship worth 15,000 dollars to support her studies.

Kristi is studying Chemical Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and was awarded the  2023 Astronaut Scholarship.

The Astronaut Scholarship is an elite scholarship awarded annually to the nation’s most academically accomplished students pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees.

“It’s very empowering to see Black women in their respective fields be a part of this cohort. I’m just really proud to be making history there,” she said. Kristi made history alongside two other students as the first cohort of more than one student from an HBCU(Historically Black Colleges and University.

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The scholarship will cover her educational expenses and lifelong engagement with astronauts, executives, STEM researchers and innovators, Astronaut Scholar alumni, and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

While in high school, Kristi interned at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard. She continued with her pursuit of STEM education with an excellent grade upon enrollment into the university.

Kristi earned a cumulative 4.0 GPA and secured an internship with Abbott before completing her first semester at North Carolina University. She had also applied once for the Astronaut scholarship before she was finally chosen for the 2023 cohort.


She also received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation HBCU National Racial Equity Initiative Scholarship to pursue her interest in applying her studies to treat diabetes and other diseases that disproportionately affect Black populations in 2021.

While in the university, Kristi co-authored the study “Do masks matter? A study on the effectiveness and the adherence to mask mandates in stores in North Carolina” in April 2022.

Kristi completed a second internship with Abbott in the summer of 2022 and interned with Eli Lilly in the summer of 2023. She is also a member of the University Choir and treasurer of the Society of Women Engineers.

“I want to play an active role in disease prevention by engineering systems that transform medicine, nutrition, and diagnostics, and I want to end Type 2 diabetes because it runs in my family,” she said. 

“I also plan to blend my spirit of service with my STEM degree to help the progression of diversity in the STEM workforce,” she added.  Kristi stated on her LinkedIn that she loved mathematics and science since early childhood because it is logical, concrete, and exciting.

She mentioned that the combination of her passions for Math and Chemistry inspired her future career choice in Chemical Engineering. Kristi added that her exposure to other fields her has allowed me to keep an open mind about her future.

Kristi said her STEM skills were developed through hands-on assembly in her school’s National Society of Black Engineers, Fundamentals of Engineering course, and her internship at NASA.

Kristi stated that she is looking forward to applying chemistry, mathematics, and other sciences to solve problems that involve the production and use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and other products. 

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