It’s not unusual for plans to change and grow as we do, and that’s exactly what happened for Andrew Bradstreet, Templeton and Eastern alum from 2008. When Andrew was in high school his original plan was to enroll in the military upon graduation, but after a parent-teacher conference during his junior year he was persuaded to continue his education and broaden his options in the years to come. That decision brought him to Eastern University and the Templeton Honors College where, while also taking classes at Villanova, he graduated with a BA in Physics. But Andrew’s path upon university graduation was heavily influenced by two gap years he took at a leadership training camp in Colorado Springs.
During the second year of Andrew’s leadership training the group was called together and each asked where they saw themselves in ten years. He responded “astronaut,” as he envisioned himself as being a part of NASA and becoming an astronaut. This was certainly a lofty goal, last time NASA invited applicants only 12 were accepted from an initial field of over 18,000. After the leadership academy Andrew returned to Eastern to complete his BA and begin taking steps in that direction.
Many astronauts get their start in the military, and after a year interning at Radnor Benefits Group Inc., Andrew signed up for the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. Three months of rigorous training later and he was headed to Pensacola (FL) for a year of introductory flight school. After Pensacola it was on to Corpus Christi (TX) for a year where he met his wife Ana, and completed primary flight school. Next Andrew needed to learn the helicopter he would be flying in the Navy, which took him back to Florida (Milton) for six months followed by San Diego (CA) for another year at which point he and Ana married.
By the time Andrew was deployed to Guam Ana was expecting their first child Aliya, and their second, Andre, also arrived while there. The family spent three years in Guam before returning to the United States where Andrew enrolled in the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, where he began to study for his Masters in Astronautical Engineering. He is currently writing and reviewing his thesis before he graduates in December, at which point he expects to be deployed again before he could return to study for his PhD, the completion of which will open more doors, whether that be in teaching or the corporate world.
Although Templeton and Eastern were a relatively short portion of Andrew’s journey, the camaraderie and heavily-focused nature of his education here set him up well for the demands of the Navy and the educational standards expected at the NPS. His Templeton professors and fellow students challenged him to take his studies seriously and expect great things, and it is his commitment to both excellence and service that has earned Andrew the 2017 Templeton Alum of the Year Award.