"Star Trek," in its many variants, represents much of what's good about hopes for the future: racial and gender equality; peace, for the most part; unwillingness to tamper with indigenous cultures; and resistance to assimilating them. Plus there's all that snazzy tech.
"Star Trek" can also spell financial hope for students' college and graduate school dreams. Students with a passion for the TV series or for science fiction can earn scholarships to help pay for school.
STARFLEET, the international Star Trek Fan Association Inc., has been around since 1974, five years after the original TV series was canceled. It has more than 4,600 members in 240-plus chapters who enjoy discussing all things "Star Trek" – including the various follow-up TV series and movie franchises.
But since 1990, members have also enjoyed raising and donating money for various STARFLEET scholarships. The scholarships – in amounts up to $1,000 – have changed over time, but the organization currently offers these awardss, named after fan-favorite characters, actors and others associated with the series:
James Doohan/Montgomery Scott Engineering & Technology Scholarship: Actor Doohan portrayed the always-put-upon chief engineer Scotty, who episode after episode found ways to increase power for the ship's engines and weapons. The scholarship is for students in any engineering-related field as well as well as those pursuing technology and computer science degrees.
DeForest Kelley/Dr. Leonard McCoy Memorial Medical and Veterinarian Scholarship:This scholarship is named for actor Kelley and character McCoy, the cantankerous doctor in the original series. The award covers a number of medical fields for humans and animals, including medical school and nursing school, physical therapy, paramedics, surgical and biomedical technicians and veterinary medicine.
Gene Roddenberry Memorial/Sir Patrick Stewart Scholarship for Aspiring Writers and Artists: This award is named after Star Trek creator Roddenberry and actor Stewart, who played the captain of the Enterprise in "The Next Generation" television series and movies. The scholarship is geared for students studying the arts, including literature, writing, acting, music and dance, graphic arts, filmmaking and more.
Armin Shimerman/George Takei/LeVar Burton Scholarship for Business, Language Studies and Education: Shimerman played a bartender in the "Deep Space Nine" version of the TV franchise, and Takei and Burton were navigators in the original series and "The Next Generation," respectively. This scholarship goes to students pursuing business and management, foreign languages or international studies abroad, or education.