Three, Two, One, Liftoff! at Summer Rocketry Camp
|Set up, Ignition, Gone!!! - Curt Guaglianone, Special Assistant to the Provost for Academic Affairs at Cal State University-Bakersfield, guides a student in setting up his rocket, monitors the firing, and both watch the rocket soar into the sky above the CSUB campus during the final event in the two-week Summer of Innovation Academy.
About 200 middle-school students from Mountain View Middle School in Lamont, Calif., participated in a NASA Summer of Innovation Academy Rocketry Camp June 13-16 and June 20-22 at Myrtle Avenue Grade School in Lamont. The academy, which focused on encouraging the students to pursue the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics—or STEM-- culminated in rocket launches the afternoon of June 23 on the California State University--Bakersfield campus.
The camp was administered by the university under a grant from the Aerospace, Education Research and Operations (AERO) Institute in Palmdale, affiliated with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, which is leading implementation of the summer educational program. In addition, Taft College provided specialized scientific rocket building supplies for the Lamont rocketry camp.
NASA’s agency-wide Summer of Innovation initiative is designed to inspire students to choose careers in the STEM fields. Targeted at the middle school level, grades 4 through 9 for the 2011-12 school year, Summer of Innovation activities provide engaging, project/engineering-based academics during summer months that continue throughout the following school year. The program not only encompasses learning activities for students but also professional development opportunities for teachers.
During the opening sessions in the university's Dore Theater, representatives of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base joined CSUB faculty members to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or math.
Maria Caballero, an aerospace engineer at NASA Dryden, challenged the middle schools students to "Dare to Dream and Reach for the Stars."
"You are the future of our nation," she said. "We need your creative ideas and your bright and curious minds. I don't see any reason why you can't be an engineer, a scientist or a mathematician – It's all up to you. Nobody is going to top you from following your dreams."
Caballero, a native of the town of Wasco near Bakersfield and an honors graduate of Wasco High School, also encouraged the mostly Hispanic-background students to not let ethnic or economic disadvantages deter them from pursuing their dreams.
"Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot do it because you don't speak English, or because you don't have the money," she told them. "I was nine years old before I spoke English, and that didn't stop me from doing what I needed to do. I came from a very poor family, my mom never learned English; neither did my dad. They couldn't help me with my homework, they couldn't help me with anything, but I still managed to do what I needed to do because I had a dream and I had a goal and I followed that."
Overall, more than 2,000 middle-school students are expected to participate this summer in the Summer of Innovation rocketry, aeronautics and robotics activities conducted by NASA Dryden's partners in the five service areas -- Bakersfield, the Lancaster-Palmdale area, Downey, and the Imperial Valley in California and in Phoenix, Ariz.
NASA Dryden photos by Tom Tschida
||Students participating in the Summer of Innovation Academy set up their pressurized water-bottle rockets on their Aquapod launch pads at left, and moments later the bottles shoot into the air trailing streams of water during the academy's final event on the CSUB campus.
Alan Brown, public affairs
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center