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Summer Rocketry 2023 - Successful Launch and Landing!

Earlier in August, we completed the third year of SCFG's Summer Rocketry Program! Our 35 young aerospace engineers had blast designing, building, and launching their very own rockets! With the guidance of 13 Junior Mentors and numerous staff, participants worked together to test and improve their designs to have their rockets soar even farther.

This summer we offered two sessions of the Summer Rocketry Program, each two weeks in duration. Over the course of those two weeks, participants explored topics such as the importance of space exploration, spacecraft components, and what it takes to become an astronaut. Activities included building water bottle rockets, astronaut physical training, data collection using rovers, and designing astronaut suits. Each session concluded with a 3-day rocket launch!

This year, each group also had the chance to visit the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard and Smithsonian. There, they learned more about our universe and current research being done in space. Participants learned about how air pollution is being studied from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

Participants also heard from Career Panels of inspiring women who work in aerospace engineering and related fields. The panelists shared their experiences in life and STEM and answered the participants' questions. Many emphasized the importance of advocating for yourself, believing in your passions, and surrounding yourself with people who motivate you to be the best version of yourself.

“You can choose the path that you want, there are no rules…you can pick what you want to do and make that your story.” -Mahlet Shiferaw, PhD Candidate in Physics, Stanford University

“You have to be your number one support and advocator” -Christine Page, PhD student in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, MIT

“There is a place for you if you want to work in a particular field or company…in some cases [you] may have to make that place, but it is there.” -Kristen Bates, Head of HR, Maglev Aero

A career in STEM may be challenging, especially for those underrepresented in the fields, but when you build a support system and find mentors or figures that you can look up to, you can achieve any goal imaginable. That’s why panelist Omakshi Agiwal spends her free time volunteering for groups that advocate for increased representation of women and girls in STEM careers. She explained that beyond just recruitment, support systems need to be put in place to help women, especially those of color, feel qualified enough to pursue these fields and feel supported enough to stay and make significant changes in the STEM community.

Thank you to our inspiring panelists!

Omakshi Agiwal - Postdoctoral Researcher, Boston University

Deme Apostolou - Systems Engineering Intern, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Kristen Bates - Head of HR, Maglev Aero

Rebecca Butrin - Lead of the Program Management Office, Center for Astrophysics (CfA)

Janice Houston - Systems Engineer, Center for Astrophysics

Antonia Januszewicz - PhD Student in Computer Science for Cryptology, Notre Dame

Aspen Meineke - Program Director, The Coding Space

Christine Page - PhD student in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, MIT

Anneliese Rilinger - Data Scientist, Magnite Inc.

Mahlet Shiferaw - PhD Candidate in Physics, Stanford University

These individuals' stories and life-lessons elevate our curriculum and resonate with our participants, including returning young scientist Eva. When asked how the rocketry camp has changed her view of aerospace engineering, she proclaimed:

“It changed for the best! I really would like to go into a career in aeronautics because it’s really cool! I learned a lot and like to launch rockets and would love to learn even more about it.” -Eva

Thank you to Haemonetics, the Cambridge STEAM Initiative, and the Summer Fund of Philanthropy Massachusetts, among other funders, for supporting this year's Summer Rocketry Program.

Stay tuned to our social media for more out-of-this-world rocketry content!

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