Students from Rocket Contest Return for the Third White House Science Fair
Students pursuing STEM education showcase rocket designs for President Obama.
Arlington, Va. – This morning, students participating in the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) displayed their rockets for President Obama at the White House Science Fair for the third time since 2010. Students from Memphis, Tenn. and San Antonio, Texas represented more than 55,000 students who have taken part in the world’s largest rocket competition over the past 11 years. This nationally-recognized contest is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Rocketry and more than 20 industry partners.
When the President first took office he called for an all-hands-on-deck approach for encouraging more American students to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). TARC is doing just that. Established in 2003, TARC has advanced this cause by motivating thousands of students across the country to follow their love for rocketry into STEM-related career fields.
“Receiving an invitation for two of our teams to exhibit their work is an outstanding indication of how influential TARC has been in inspiring students to further their education in STEM,” said Marion C. Blakey, president and CEO of Aerospace Industries Association. “As an industry we couldn’t be more proud that these students were given the opportunity to show the president first-hand that the spark of creativity and innovation in our young people is far from being put out.”
The two teams attending this year’s Science Fair come from different states and backgrounds, but they share an interest in STEM and a passion for rockets. Wesley Carter and Darius Hooker from Memphis, Tennessee – better known in their community as the “Fly Boys”– attended Wooddale High School’s four-year aviation program, where alongside traditional class work, they trained for private pilots’ licenses and studied aerospace. Isabella Leighton, Dalia Castillo and Ruth Long of Team Eclipse from San Antonio, Texas, make up one of the numerous all-girls teams advancing to this year’s TARC finals and hold the title of 2012 national runners-up.
This year, teams will be challenged to overcome obstacles of drag and recovery as they design and build a wider rocket than in years past. The rocket must safely carry one raw egg to an altitude of 750 feet and land within a duration of 48-50 seconds. In a year of record turnout, attracting 725 teams, students in the top 100 teams representing 29 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and a diverse cross-section of American youth will be competing in this year’s National Finals on May 11 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va.