NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong is credited as saying, “Shoot for the stars, but if you happen to miss, shoot for the moon instead.” So far, Coleman Goulding, a student at Missouri S&T, is taking that advice to heart, and he now has a $15,000 scholarship and a keynote speaking engagement to prove it.
Goulding, a first-year aerospace engineering major from Elmhurst, Illinois, was recently awarded the National Space Club and Foundation Keynote Scholarship, and in early March he will travel to Washington D.C. and deliver the keynote address to about 2,000 attendees of the black-tie Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner. The dinner is named after Goddard, who is considered the father of rocket propulsion.
“When I first saw this scholarship opportunity online this fall, it seemed like a perfect fit for me, but I knew I would face some tough competition from across the nation,” Goulding says. “The organization focuses on outreach related to the space industry, and they aim to motivate and inspire people to be interested in this field, which is something I also strive to do.”
Goulding has a background in musicals and theater, and he says he also had an “amazing” public speaking professor at S&T, Randall Arthur, so he decided to give it his best shot.
“I knew this would be a challenge, but I asked myself: ‘What’s the worst that could happen,’” he says. “I love inspiring others to be excited about space, and I had some expert feedback from Mr. Arthur. Thankfully, I was able to advance through the selection process, and now here we are.”
Goulding has expressed his enthusiasm about everything related to engineering and science since he was in elementary school. Now, he will do so on a large stage, and he will focus on what currently motivates the audience.
In Goulding’s speech, he plans to focus on past inspirations people have had and ask the audience to appreciate their success while also considering what they aspire to do in the future.
Goulding says he plans to take his high school drama and music teacher, Rebecca Marianetti, as one of his official guests to the dinner. He credits her for helping him develop his skills when it comes to connecting with people.
“I feel fortunate to have this opportunity,” Goulding says. “Not many people are able to speak about their passions on this large of a platform, so I will continue to shoot for the stars and do my best with this speech and everything else I do.”
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu