Purdue, Space Force collaboration introduces high school students to careers in aviation and space

Purdue University students observe the underside of a plane on Purdue Aviation Day 2022 (Photo/Purdue Marketing and Media)

Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology is collaborating with the United States Space Force and two Purdue offices to introduce high school students to careers in aviation and space.

Forty high school students from 17 states will spend a week on campus this summer for the inaugural program. They will be introduced to unmanned aerial systems, flight operations and air traffic control. They will also learn about the space environment, the importance of the space domain, and education and career opportunities with the Space Force from Space Force Guardians.

Hands-on learning, a hallmark of the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology and Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute, will be a big benefit for the program’s participants, according to Vicki Gilbert, recruiting, placement and internship coordinator.

“Participants will gain practical experience in our four major aviation areas of management, engineering technology, unmanned systems, and flight,” Gilbert said. “They’ll take classes at the second-busiest airport in Indiana, meet representatives from industry, and learn from our school’s faculty and current students.”

Daniel Castro, dean of Purdue Polytechnic, said the program provides a unique opportunity for high school students.

“One of Purdue Polytechnic’s missions is to provide meaningful experiences for high school students,” said Castro. “A week on campus learning about aviation technologies could be the spark that leads them to study here at Purdue and to pursue careers they had not previously dreamt about. But this opportunity is especially exciting because today’s high school students could conceivably become tomorrow’s pioneers in space.”

Purdue is one of 14 universities to be selected for the Space Force University Partnership Program. The Office of Summer and Winter Sessions and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging are collaborating with the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology and the Space Force on the program, which runs from June 25-30.

See the full Purdue Student Success Programs story by Andrea Mattingly.

A launch takes place at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. (Photo provided)

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