The goal of the ARA outreach program is to empower students to pursue academic, social, and personal goals. While we hope that we instill a love of space in all of the students we effect, our most important responsibility lies in enabling students to realize their own, unique dreams.
Programs & Partnerships
Tuscaloosa Rocketry Challenge
TRC is a joint outreach event led by Alabama Rocketry Association and the Alabama chapter of SEDS (Students for Exploration and Development of Space). Volunteers from our student-founded Honors College service learning courses, other engineering organizations/design teams, ARA, and SEDS devote time to teach 6th grade students about space concepts and the scientific method. The first phase of TRC is a history of space lecture. Following the history lecture, the scientific method is discussed. Finally, the scientific method is put into practice with two days of designing and building bottle rockets powered by compressed air. On Friday, the students fly their rockets in a competition format with the top eight advancing to the final county-wide competition. In 2017, six schools participated in the competition, with approximately 1200 middle school students taking part. In 2018, we hope to double the program size to 12 schools by adding the Tuscaloosa city schools.
Service Learning Courses
In conjunction with the University of Alabama Honors College, the leaders of ARA and SEDS designed a curriculum focusing on the development and sustainability of the Tuscaloosa Rocketry Challenge. With the intro class focusing on philosophy of education and the development of TRC curriculum, the program hopes to filter students into a student-led TRC leadership course. After the leadership course is completed, students are offered the opportunity to perform research within the TRC schools for Honors College credit. This class sequence is open to students of all disciplines.
High School Outreach
Our high school outreach focuses on displaying career options accessible by means of an engineering or technical degree. By participating in local career and college fairs, we encourage high school students to pursue college, while showing that learning outside the classroom is a vital part of furthering education.