Molly K. Macauley Award

The AAS Molly K. Macauley Award honors a national leader in environmental economics who helped for many years to establish, lead and guide research projects combining economics with space research. Her fields of interest and goals were broad, including space related renewable energy, new technologies and natural resources, and helping decision makers understand the economics of space. Molly was tragically murdered in 2016, while out walking her dogs. Her murder is still unsolved today.

The American Astronautical Society (AAS), in cooperation with NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC), hereby issues a call for applications by university students for the AAS Molly K. Macauley Award.  Based on the abstract submission the top five individuals in each category will be asked to provide a paper and make a presentation at a pre-seminar event. The presentation and paper will be judged to select the two award recipients, who will receive funding to help defray costs to attend any future related conference of their choosing.  The winners will be invited will attend and make a presentation at the NASA Glenn Seminar, to be held in Cleveland, Ohio on July 10-12, 2019.

The award is directed specifically to university undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in helping to achieve similar goals in their future.



The applicants for this award should be university undergraduate and graduate students majoring in science and/or engineering or business and space policy (including law and economics). Applicants should be currently enrolled students or recent graduates from a U.S. or Canadian university who have received their diplomas up to one year before the conference. The applications should include the following:

  1. An abstract of up to 500 words outlining a paper and presentation to be given at a meeting one day prior to the Glenn Seminar (July 10, 2019) (the paper itself and the presentation can be provided later by the selected applicants). Either of two fields of interest can be the subject of the abstract: technical aspects of a space or space-related gap in (science/engineering) or business and space policy aspects (including law and economics). AAS is expected to select up to five applicants from each of these fields to attend the pre-seminar event to give their oral presentations
  2. A short C.V. of the applicant, listing academic studies
  3. Up to a two-page cover letter written by the applicant explaining their interest in one or more of the aforementioned fields and his/her expectations for gaining further experience and/or working in these fields
  4. A letter of reference, from a major professor or senior colleague, supporting the application

The selected applicants in each field will prepare up to a ten-page paper detailing the subject of their abstract. Applicants will also make a 10-15 minute presentation about the paper during the pre-seminar event. The paper and presentation will be judged by a panel of experts during the pre-seminar event  who will select one applicant from each field to receive a $2,500 award. Winners can use the award to help defray their costs to attend any future conference of their choice in 2019/2020 that concerns or includes topics related to the subject of their paper. The winner of each category will be invited to make a 10-15 minute oral presentation at the full seminar.

The link for the abstract submission is:

All applications and abstracts must be submitted to AAS by March 1, 2019. The abstracts will be reviewed and authors will be informed about acceptance for presentation via email in March 2019. The content of the abstract will be the basis for acceptance for an oral presentation at the pre-seminar event. Upon notification of acceptance authors will be expected to submit a paper discussing their research and findings by June 1, 2019. All selected applicants will be invited to present at the pre-seminar event and will be will be offered free registration to the seminar.



Abstract Title

Abstract: The body of your abstract begins here. It should be an explicit summary of your presentation that states the problem, the methods used or to be used, and the major results and conclusions expected or obtained. Do not include bullets, lists, graphs or images in the abstract. It should be a single-spaced text.

The first part of your abstract should state the problem you set out to solve or the issue you set out to explore and explain your rationale for pursuing the project. The problem or issue might be a research question, a scientific concern, a business or space policy (including law and economics) challenge. The purpose of your study is to solve this problem and/or add to your discipline’s understanding of the issue. This section of the abstract should explain how you went about or will go about solving the problem or exploring the issue you identified. Your abstract should also describe the research methods; this section should include a concise description of the process by which you will or have conducted your research.

Next, your abstract should list the results or outcomes of the work you have done so far. If your project is not yet complete, you may still include preliminary results or your hypotheses about what those results will be. Finally, your abstract should close with a statement of the project’s implications and contributions to its field. It should convince readers that the project is interesting, valuable, and worth investigating further. In particular, it should be compelling and garner curiosity to the reviewer.

Be sure to adhere to the word limitation for the abstract (500 words).

For more information contact: Jim Way, Executive Director for the American Astronautical Society at