We recently wrapped up our annual Summer Rocketry Program and our young astronauts had a BLAST participating in virtual and in-person activities in the two-week club!
For the second year, we were able to serve more students, offering two sessions: Session A in July and Session B finishing up earlier this month in August. Each session began with participants spending Week 1 getting to know each other, staff, and Junior Mentors—and getting a thorough introduction to our aerospace engineering curriculum. Activities included
exploring different types of rockets, designing spacesuits, doing astronaut physical training, and learning how humans live and study in space!
"It was kind of challenging, some parts of building the rockets [and] some of the activities, but it was really fun because we just asked...clarifying questions and then we learned more about it."-Ava, 6th grader and returning SCFG participant
Many girls acknowledged that before coming to the Rocketry Program, they viewed math and science as boring or difficult, but over the course of the two weeks their entire perspective changed. Ishana, a rising 7th grader and returning SCFG participant proclaimed, “If you think math and science is boring well, you might think differently when you come to this camp…you’re gonna say ‘wow, I love science and math!’”
Over 85% of the 37 participants in the Summer Rocketry Program were underrepresented in STEM by race, family income, and/or by being first-generation college bound. With so few astronauts and aerospace engineers representing the backgrounds of the girls and gender-expansive youth we serve, this experience exposed our young rocketeers to powerful role models and exciting new topics.
Watch the Summer Rocketry Program 2022 recap video:
When girls and gender-expansive youth see engineers, astronomers, scientists, and mathematicians who look like them, it allows them to envision themselves embarking on a STEM-related career journey they may not have thought was possible before.
We were lucky to have numerous accomplished women in STEM share inspiring anecdotes and life lessons during our Career Panel! One participant even shared that the career panel was one of their favorite segments of the program because they were able to connect with real scientists with years of experience. Here are just a few of the gems from the panelists that encouraged not only the participants, but the Junior Mentors and SCFG staff as well:
“It’s ok to be into a lot of things and try everything out.”
“There’s always multiple ways to do what you love.”
“Failure is always an option. You are going to fall on your face often. Be kind to yourself and apply the criticism to the problem, not to yourself.”
We’d like to give an outer-space-sized thank you to the wonderful panelists who brought both wisdom and humor to this event:
Omakshi Agiwal, Postdoctoral researcher at Boston University
Semira Azadzoi, Lead Hardware Engineer at GE Aviation
Kristen Bates, Head of Human Resources at Maglev Aero
Kate Brewer, Aerospace Engineer at MORSE Corp.
Antonia Januszewicz, Software Engineer at Collins Aerospace
Christine Page, Aerospace Engineer at Space/Aero Force Research Lab (STARLab)
Ufuoma Ovienmhada, Aeronautics and Astronautics Grad Student at MIT
Anneliese Rilinger, PhD in Astronomy from Boston University
And a huge thank you to the sponsors/funders of this year’s Summer Rocketry Program: Cambridge STEAM Initiative, Draper, Estes Education, the Summer Fund at Philanthropy Massachusetts, and UMASS Boston PATHS! Without these generous funders and supporters, our young astronauts would not have been able to shoot for the Moon this summer!
To hear more heartwarming testimonials and watch amazing rockets blast off into space, watch our Summer Rocketry Program 2022 recap video above and follow our social media pages for the latest Science Club for Girls content.