Opportunities in STEM Abound

The United States has seen a decline in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) interest and skills. Conversely, the number of jobs in these fields has grown and continues to expand, with many open positions in the U.S. going unfilled due to lack of qualified workers. In order for the country to continue to stay competitive in a global market, promoting STEM education to children and young adults – especially those under represented in STEM fields, such as women and minorities, has been given special priority and focus.  Part of the mission to garner interest in pursuing a future in careers such as computer science or aerospace engineering is to show kids that STEM is fun! Here are a few different opportunities that engage young students in competitions that showcase problem-solving and skillsets within STEM.

Do you know of another opportunity that promotes STEM education within aerospace? Tell us about it in the comments section!

Real World Design Challenge (RWDC)

The RWDC supports Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in high schools through an annual competition. The goal of the RWDC is to motivate and prepare students for the STEM workforce and teach innovation. The RWDC is “Real World” in the following ways: Students (1) solve Real Problems; (2) use Real Tools; (3) play Real Roles; and (4) make Real Contributions.
This year students solved an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) problem with the mission of precision agriculture.

Teams that win the State Championship will be invited to compete in the National Championship. Each member of the National Winning Team gets a $50,000 scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for each team member.

Sign up is open for the 2016/2017 competition here.

Industry Support

National Robotics League (NRL)

The National Robotics League (NRL) is a manufacturing workforce development program of the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA) where students design and build remote controlled robots (Bots) to face-off in a gladiator-style competition. Through the manufacturing process of Bot building, students’ imaginations are captured as they design, build and compete with their own robotic creations. Through this hands-on effort along with industry partnerships, students gain practical knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) – all essential skills for manufacturing.

Industry Support

Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC)

The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is the world’s largest student rocket contest and a key piece of the aerospace and defense industry’s strategy to build a stronger U.S. workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), TARC was created in the fall of 2002 as a one-time celebration of the Centennial of Flight, but by popular demand became an annual program.

Approximately 4,000 students from across the nation compete in TARC each year. The contest’s rules and scoring parameters change every cycle to challenge the students’ ingenuity and encourage a fresh approach to rocket design.

This year’s contest challenges students to design, build and fly a rocket carrying two raw eggs to an altitude of 850 feet and return them to ground with the eggs uncracked within 44-46 seconds.

Based on local qualification flights, the top 100 teams are invited to Washington, D.C. in May for the National Finals. Top placing teams split more than $100,000 in cash and scholarships and the overall winning team will travel to the United Kingdom to complete in the International Rocketry Challenge taking place at the Farnborough Air Show in July.

Important Dates

  • 09.01.16 – 2017 REGISTRATION OPENS
  • 12.02.16 – 2017 REGISTRATION CLOSES
  • 04.07.17 – TOP 100 TEAMS ANNOUNCED

The Aerospace Corporation Robert H. Herndon Memorial Science Competition

In 1977, The Aerospace Corporation established the Robert H. Herndon Memorial Science Competition. This event provides middle and high school students in Los Angeles County an opportunity to participate annually in the El Segundo portion of the essay and/or science experiment competition. In 2000, a Washington-area Herndon Memorial Science Competition was established and is also held annually.

The award is named for the late Robert H. Herndon, an Aerospace engineer and manager who served as a mentor for many at the corporation. The competition events are designed to stimulate interest among minority students in science, engineering, and technology, and increase diversity across the aerospace industry.

Competition Categories

EXPERIMENT COMPETITION | The experiment portion of the competition is divided into middle and high school sections. Teams compete by demonstrating their science experiments for a team of judges representing Aerospace and the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). High school and middle school entries are judged separately.

Each team must have a faculty sponsor and is assigned an advisor from the corporation. Up to $150 is given to each team as reimbursement for experiment materials.

ESSAY COMPETITION | Middle and high school students may also participate in the essay portion of the competition. Submitted essays must be original in content and each essay must feature a scientific topic. Teachers and the Aerospace advisor can provide some support and background in researching the essay subject matter. Submitted essays are read by a review committee of Aerospace employees and SMC personnel.

Other Aerospace Corporation STEM Programs can be found HERE.