Yale Astrophysics Major AJ LaConte Wins Free Tuition from Cards Against Humanity

Fri, 05/03/2024

CHICAGO (April 25, 2024) — Best-selling party game Cards Against Humanity announced today that it awarded its ninth full-tuition scholarship to undergraduate Yale freshman AJ LaConte.

AJ LaConte is the ninth-annual winner of Cards Against Humanity’s full-tuition Science Ambassador Scholarship for women and non-binary students in STEM.

The Science Ambassador Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship for undergraduate women and non-binary students in science, technology, engineering and math. Cards Against Humanity created the program with proceeds from their “Science Pack,” and “Climate Catastrophe Pack,” two 30-card expansions. Pack sales continue to fund the growing scholarship trust, which has raised more than $1.4 million since its creation in 2015.

Each year applicants upload short videos to YouTube, delivering a mini-lecture about a STEM topic they find interesting. An advisory board of 45 science and tech professionals with advanced degrees judge the applications, picking one full-tuition winner each year. The judges’ professional experience is vast, with a board made up of educators, researchers, consultants, C-suite executives, and more.

“Serving on the scholarship board is an incredible experience that allows me to be continuously learning and inspired by women and non-binary students pursuing STEM careers. Every year I am impressed with the passion our applicants have for educating the next generation!” said Scholarship Co-Chair and Yale Alumni Diana SM Buist, (MPH ‘95).

AJ captivated the judges’ attention this year with their three-minute video on Doppler shifts.

What drew me to AJ’s application was their clear commitment to teaching and mentoring across a broad spectrum of subjects. I am excited to watch AJ as they start their ambassadorship,” said Buist.

Since 2015 the scholarship has received more than ten thousand application videos from students around the world. In addition to full-tuition award, runners-up are given one-time tuition stipends.

  • First runner-up and winner of $5,000 is Alice Heiman, a freshman at Stanford University studying computer science who made a video explaining reinforcement learning in AI.
  • Second runner-up and winner of $2,500 is Emmanuela Ilok, a high school senior in Nigeria planning to study computer science who submitted a video on neutron stars.
  • Third runner-up and winner of $1,000 is Saniya Kulkarni, a sophomore at Georgia Tech studying aerospace engineering who made a video on quantum superposition.
  • Fourth runner-up and winner of $1,000 is Astoria Stimmler, a high school senior in Virginia planning to study physics who made a video on airplane stalls.

As the 2024 Science Ambassador LaConte will continue to attend Yale University tuition-free and majoring in astrophysics. While in school, LaConte will continue creating educational videos that will be hosted on the scholarship’s Winners Blog.

“I’m completely overwhelmed with gratitude for this opportunity. I’ve had so much fun making videos so far, and I can’t wait to come up with more fun topics and develop a full collection of them. I hope that this platform will allow me to be a role-model for other trans and nonbinary STEM students, as I know how important having those figures in my life have been in helping me feel confident in myself and my pursuits,” said scholarship winner AJ LaConte.

“My eventual goal is to do research in astrophysics! I’m not quite sure what I want to focus on yet, but I’m hoping my courses and research experience at Yale will help me figure that out. I love teaching and want to incorporate that into my life and career in some form, whether that’s running STEM programs for kids, tutoring, becoming a professor, or some combination of that!” said LaConte.

Previous scholarship winners include Sona Dadhania (2016, materials science and engineering, University of Pennsylvania), Anna Barth (2017, physics, Harvey Mudd College), Laura Chen (2018, bioengineering, MIT), Eva Smerekanych (2019, physics, MIT), Sala Ba (2020, mechanical engineering, Stanford), Gabrielle Chang (2021, computer science, CalTech), Fiona Ansety (2022, geology, Amherst), and Wangari Mbuthia (2023, bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania).

Applications for next year’s scholarship will open this September. To learn more, visit ScienceAmbassadorScholarship.org