Purdue University and the US Space Force will introduce state high school students to aviation and space vocations this summer.
According to Purdue, the inaugural program will bring 40 high school students from 17 states, including 12 Hoosiers, to West Lafayette for a week.
The Purdue Polytechnic Institute School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, the Office of Summer and Winter Sessions, and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging collaborated on this initiative.
“The program will introduce students to unmanned aerial systems, flight operations, air traffic control, and more,” the description added. “On the final day of the program, Space Force Guardians will present information about the space environment, the importance of the space domain, and education and career opportunities with the Space Force.”
John Gipson, Purdue’s assistant vice provost for Innovative Educational Pathways, said the program prepares high-potential students from inner city schools, rural areas, and first-generation college students for life after high school.
“We had been looking for different opportunities to work with underserved high school students who might not have the same access or exposure to this type of learning,” Gipson said in the announcement.
Nearly 100 kids applied for 40 slots
Vicki Gilbert, recruiting, placement, and internship coordinator for Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, discussed program benefits.
Gilbert stated in the announcement that participants will acquire hands-on experience in management, engineering technologies, unmanned systems, and flying. “They’ll take classes at Indiana’s second-busiest airport, meet industry representatives, and learn from our faculty and current students.”
According to Purdue, this is a unique chance for high school students.
Castro said Purdue Polytechnic strives to provide high schoolers valuable experiences. “A week on campus learning about aviation technologies could spark them to study here at Purdue and pursue careers they had never dreamed about. But this possibility is especially thrilling since today’s high school kids might become tomorrow’s space pioneers.”
Purdue joins 14 Space Force universities.
Due to its “world-class space research and professional development opportunities,” Purdue was chosen for the Space Force University Partnership Program.
“Together, the Space Force and Purdue are encouraging students to pursue and excel in STEM disciplines, developing a highly skilled and inclusive Space Force workforce, and pursuing research that advances national security objectives in space domain,” the announcement added.
June 25–30 is the program.