Sai Gourisankar Awarded Astronaut Scholarship

Headshot of Sai Gourisankar smiling and wearing a red tie.

Sai P. Gourisankar, junior and undergraduate researcher in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded an Astronaut Scholarship from the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

He is one of 28 students nationwide to receive the $10,000 scholarship, which is given to “outstanding students who exhibit motivation, imagination and exceptional performance in the fields of engineering and natural or applied sciences.” Gourisankar was selected for his exemplary academic performance, ingenuity and unique aptitude for research.

The Astronaut Scholarship was created three decades ago by the surviving Mercury 7 astronauts. Their goal was to encourage students to pursue scientific endeavors to keep the United States on the leading edge of technology.

“I’m honored to be part of the community of Astronaut Scholars,” Gourisanakar said. “The award encourages my pursuit of a graduate degree and eventual career as a research scientist.”

This is the second prestigious scholarship award for Gourisankar in two years. In 2013, he received the Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award of its type in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. Gourisankar was one of three students from UT Austin to receive the Goldwater Scholarship last year.

Gourisankar is an honors chemical engineering and Plan II student from Fort Worth, Texas. He is conducting innovative biomedical therapy and imaging research under the guidance of chemical engineering professor Keith Johnston and department chair Thomas Truskett.

He is helping Johnston’s lab design gold nanoclusters for biomedical therapy and imaging. Molecular and cellular imaging techniques can reveal real-time changes of various biomolecules associated with cancer and other diseases.

Gourisankar will be presented the Astronaut Scholarship Award by NASA astronaut and UT alumnus Alan Bean, BS ASE ’55, during a ceremony Sept. 30th from 6-8pm in MAI 212.  Alan Bean will also give a public lecture about his experiences as a NASA astronaut who made his first flight into space aboard Apollo 12 and was the fourth person to walk on the moon, light refreshments will be provided.

The ceremony and lecture are free and open to the public, to attend please RSVP to Kati Pelletier, at, by Thursday, September 25th.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted on: