Ready to gain more hands-on experiences and expand your learning? Here is a list of great resources to fuel your curiosity and collaborate with others who have a shared interest. From clubs to challenges to internships and scholarships, there are many pathways to support your exploration of space technologies and systems.


Local Rocket Club

Eligibility: Open to all National Association of Rocketry's local organized rocket clubs. Tap into local resources to learn and share a common interest in rocketry. Access to shared equipment and permission to use approved launch sites while building connections to the community.

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Summer Programs Illinois Aerospace Institute (IAI) Summer Camps Eligibility: Rising 9th through rising 12th grade students Interested in learning about the field of aerospace engineering? Many campers have some sort of experience with the aerospace field, through model rockets, remote control airplanes, or having a family member who is a pilot, but no experience is necessary, just an interest in learning about the field of aerospace engineering. Students will learn about a variety of topics regarding, engineering through discussion sessions, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. Unite STEM Summer Program Eligibility: Rising 9th through rising 12th grade students Unite is a four-to-six week, pre-collegiate summer experience for talented high school students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM. Held at higher education institutions across the country, Unite encourages students to pursue college majors and careers in engineering and other STEM-related fields through a program of focused hands-on rigorous academics, enrichment, and career exploration. GEMS Summer STEM Enrichment Program Eligibility: Rising 5th through 12th graders GEMS' mission is to interest young people in STEM that takes place in participating U.S. Army research laboratories and engineering centers. The program is based on a multi-disciplinary educational curriculum and is focused on age and grade-appropriate hands-on activities, in areas such as science, engineering, mathematics, computational sciences, computational biology, biomedical sciences, chemistry and biology.
Challenges StellarXplorers Eligibility: Rising 9th through rising 12th grade students A space system design competition, where students are challenged to solve orbit planning, satellite component, and launch vehicle selection scenarios. They also offer a fun space system design camp to learn about aspects of space system design with no prior experience required. The American Rocketry Challenge Eligibility: 6th through 12th grades The world's largest rocket contest, with nearly 5,000 students nationwide competing annually. The contest provides the opportunity for students to design, build, and launch model rockets and gain hands-on experience solving engineering problems. Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Challenge Eligibility: Undergraduate or Graduate students Student teams from across the USA and around the world compete at the IREC by designing, building, and launching a rocket carrying a payload of no less than 8.8 lbs. to a target apogee of either 10,000 ft or 30,000 ft above ground level (AGL).
Apprenticeships AEOP High School Apprenticeship Eligibility: Current 9th through 12th grade students High School students work one-on-one with a university researcher or DoD scientist mentor during this authentic science and engineering research apprenticeship. You will experience firsthand the innovation and research that is driving the future of our country. AEOP Undergraduate Apprenticeship Eligibility: Current undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents Undergraduate students have the unique opportunity to conduct real-world, U.S. Army-sponsored research alongside scientist and engineer mentors in world-class facilities at university labs or U.S. Army Research Laboratories and Centers. The program invites you to elevate your STEM knowledge and experience and take part in the research that is shaping the future of our nation.
Scholarships DoD SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program Eligibility: U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age The program provides students with a full STEM scholarship, internships, and guaranteed placement at a DoD lab or facility upon graduation. The online application is available every year from August through December. Students pursuing degrees related to engineering, science, mathematics, architecture, oceanography and operations research are encouraged to apply.
Aerospace Collectives Illinois Space Grant Consortium Eligibility: Open to All with emphasis on collegiate students As part of NASA's National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program since its inception in 1989, Illinois Space Grant Consortium continually strives to positively influence and support students in the pursuit of space sciences and aerospace engineering careers. Pathways to Science Eligibility: Highschool through Early Career and Educators The Institute for Broadening Participation's mission is to increase diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce with emphasis on connecting underrepresented students with STEM funding and research opportunities. It also provides faculty and administrators with tools and resources to help promote the positive factors that keep underrepresented students on the STEM pathway into successful STEM careers.