A total of 23 Indian students were among 325 students from 35 countries who attended a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience at the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HLCA), Honeywell said.
Ten students from Pune participated in this programme. Prateek Agarwal (Symbiosis College For Arts & Commerce), Mehul Jitendra Oswal (City International School), Pradyun Hebbar (Arihant Arts, Commerce & Science Junior College), Aditi Oak (Late P. B. Jog Junior College Of Science & Commerce), Akash Kulkarni (Sir Parshuram Bhau College), Atharva Somnath Ubale (Arihant Junior College Of Arts, Commerce & Science), Samrudhi Sunil Nawale (Laxmanrao Apte College), Yash Gopal Darak (VIT College), Aishwarya Narwadkar (Mansukhbhai Kothari National School, Kondhawa), Ishani Rede (MIT Polytechnic College) were the participants from Pune.
The unique leadership programme took place for two consecutive weeks at the US Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama. The programme offers interactive technology, science-oriented workshops and team exercises to instill leadership skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among students aged between 16-18 years.
Mrudang Patel, a Bengaluru participant said, “At the Academy, I trained like an astronaut, and confidently operated shuttle missions and rocket launch simulators – things I never did before. During an aviation simulation challenge, I flew a plane with a joystick as throttle. This was a life-changing experience. Now science is more than a subject, it is my passion!”
According to the World Economic Forum, globally 65 per cent of students entering primary school will eventually work in technologically-advanced jobs that are non-existent today.
Dr Deborah Barnhart, CEO and executive director, USSRC said, “Through this immersive programme, students learn teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills and get a glimpse of the possibilities for their lives and careers in the 21st century.”
At the Academy, activities are delivered in fun and innovative ways to bring STEM studies to life. Interactive and experiential sessions around rocket designing, coding, building, and testing; simulated astronaut training, and shuttle missions and moonwalk, highlight the importance of STEM learning in an ever-changing and connected world. Students also meet scientists, engineers, and former astronauts who reinforce core leadership competencies and share their first-hand professional experiences.
While the simulators were easily the most ‘fun’ part of the camp, Sharon Evangeline, a Gurugram participant, said simulators were not the only thing that inspired her. Lectures resonated with her already curious mind.
Mehul Oswal from Pune added that the experience was close to a real-life space mission. “We sat inside a model spaceship, launched it into space, and brought it back safely,” she said.
For Rohith Tirumalasetty of Hyderabad,the best part of Space Academy was back on Earth. “The highlight of the programme was, by far, having the opportunity to make friends from all around the world. It was exciting to meet people who share the same passion for rockets, jets, and space shuttles.
Since the launch of the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academyin 2010, Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s corporate citizenship initiative, in partnership with the USSRC, has awarded 2,091 scholarships to students of Honeywell employees. Scholarships are granted after a rigorous application and review process based on academic achievement and community involvement. Financial contributions from Honeywell and its employees fund the scholarships, which cover the cost of tuition, meals, accommodations and program materials.