Five Indigenous university students are headed to the US next week for a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ internship at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The five students represent the first cohort of Monash University’s National Indigenous Space Academy – a global first program based at Monash University in Melbourne.

The students will be partnered with a scientist or engineer mentor at the NASA laboratory in California for a ten week internship.

The five students are: 

  • Ngarrindjeri man, Linden Beaumont, Monash University 
  • Kamilaroi woman, Cedar Lett, Griffith University 
  • Palawa man, Edward (Ted) Vanderfeen, Western Sydney University 
  • Limilngan and Mudburra man, Lincoln Bourke, University of Sydney 
  • Gundungurra woman, Tully Mahr, University of Melbourne 

Professor Lawrence, who is Associate Dean (Indigenous) at Monash University’s Faculty of IT, said he was excited for the students to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“These amazing young Indigenous STEM students will be working on ongoing NASA projects, including ocean exploration vehicles and characterising the microorganisms within the International Space Station,” Professor Lawrence said. 

“It’s incredible that we are able to empower our Indigenous youth to learn from the best in the world so we can nurture Australian capabilities in space research, and ultimately it would be great to see NISA produce the world’s first Aboriginal astronaut”.