News | Jul 9, 2024

AIAA and Club for the Future Announce Recipient of 2024 Resilient Student Scholarship

July 9, 2024 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Blue Origin’s non-profit Club for the Future are pleased to announce the recipient of their 2024 Resilient Student Scholarship is Rylie Tatum from Mableton, GA. Rylie is a recent high school graduate of The Lovett School, Atlanta, GA. She will attend Princeton University in the Fall.

“We created the AIAA and Club for the Future’s Resilient Student Scholarship with a strong commitment to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the aerospace industry. As our newest scholarship, it’s specifically designed to empower and inspire students who have faced unique challenges including disabilities and socioeconomic circumstances, as well as first-generation college students. We’re thrilled to present this $10,000 scholarship and a professional mentor to Rylie. We can’t wait to see how she shapes the future of aerospace,” said Laura McGill, chair, AIAA Foundation.

Throughout high school, Rylie took the highest-level STEM courses available. She formed a robotics team at her school and has been captain of the FIRST Tech Challenge team for three years. In this role, she encourages and leads a female team. At the 2022 FIRST National Championships, Rylie conducted a presentation, “Where Are All of the Black Girls in Robotics,” where she highlighted academic research and her personal experiences to illustrate how to support and motivate girls to get into robotics.  

When Rylie realized that a lack of feminine care products leads to young women missing out on their education, she began creating an app to network organizations across Atlanta to increase product access for them. “As a Black girl interested in engineering, I have experience in being the only representation in the room, but a lack of women in the engineering field partially stems from female students avoiding STEM-related classes,” noted Rylie. “Constant absenteeism for a week per month results in discouragement for aspiring female engineers, so the idea of period poverty restricting others from studying engineering prompted me to take action.” Over the last three years, she has led annual feminine care drives with the Girl Up club to provide 18,000 products and benefit 4,000 girls. She also hopes to design period product dispensers that will use sensors, capture datasets for trends, and use automation to solve a significant problem that does not receive the visibility and investment that it deserves. 

Rylie’s ultimate goal is to earn her Ph.D. in Aerospace, Astronautical, or Mechanical Engineering to conduct colonization models on the moon. She aspires to be the first African American female astronaut of Caribbean descent to work on the moon or Mars and encourage and enable the next generation of STEMinists.

"We are incredibly proud to award Rylie Tatum with this scholarship, recognizing her remarkable achievements in advocating for young women,” said Michael Edmonds, President of Club for the Future. “Our collaboration with AIAA to create the Resilient Student Scholarship is focused on fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within STEAM careers. Rylie is already an inspiration for the next generation, and we look forward to seeing her impact grow. Congratulations, Rylie!"

The 2025 Resilient Student Scholarship will be open for applicants in December 2024.

About AIAA

AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org(opens in a new tab) or follow AIAA on Twitter(opens in a new tab)Facebook(opens in a new tab)LinkedIn(opens in a new tab), and Instagram(opens in a new tab).

About Club for the Future

Founded by Blue Origin, Club for the Future(opens in a new tab) is a non-profit with the mission to inspire and mobilize future generations to pursue careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) for the benefit of Earth. The Club and its partners are doing this through the Postcards to Space program, providing space-focused lessons and events, and activating ambassadors around the world.