- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
April 01, 2010
Inspired by their participation in the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), many TARC alumni have channeled their childhood passion for flying rockets into an engineering career path. The Aerospace Industries Association, which sponsors TARC along with the National Association of Rocketry, NASA, the Defense Department, the American Association of Physics Teachers and AIA member companies, has demonstrated through its TARC Stars Contest that many TARC graduates are thriving in STEM-related college degree programs or aerospace industry careers. The contest is now in its eighth year.
“Knowing that TARC is playing a role to generate more engineers in this country is extremely rewarding,” said Marion C. Blakey, AIA president and CEO. “These TARC Stars are a testament to how engaging students in a hands-on, real-world challenge like TARC can ignite and solidify an interest in math and science and ultimately provide a larger workforce for many of our member companies.”
As the world’s largest rocket contest, TARC challenges middle- and high-school students to design, build and launch model rockets to meet certain criteria, which include flying to a specific altitude for a precise length of time and returning a payload back to earth. With the first TARC Stars contest, AIA received numerous impressive narrative entries from TARC mentors about their former students who are pursuing STEM-related careers. For instance, TARC alumna Johnna Esposito is currently majoring in aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech and has worked with TARC sponsors, NASA and Northrop Grumman.
A 2009 survey of TARC alumni mirrors the TARC Stars narratives:
Since the program’s inception in 2003, more than 50,000 youth have participated in TARC. For more information and to learn about the TARC Stars becoming the next generation of engineers, visit www.rocketcontest.org.