Pune: Ten Pune students recently attended a camp at the US Space and Rocket Centre (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama in February and March.
The 10 Pune students were among 23 Indian and 325 students from 35 countries who attended the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HLCA). The students are children of Honeywell employees.
Prateek Agarwal (Symbiosis College For Arts and Commerce), Mehul Oswal (City International School), Pradyun Hebbar (Arihant Arts, Commerce and Science Junior College), Aditi Oak (Late PB Jog Junior College Of Science and Commerce), Akash Kulkarni (SP College), Atharva Ubale (Arihant Junior College Of Arts, Commerce and Science), Samrudhi Nawale (Laxmanrao Apte Junior College), Yash Darak (VIT College), Aishwarya Narwadkar (Mansukhbhai Kothari National School, Kondhwa), Ishani Rede (MIT Polytechnic College) were the participants from Pune.
The leadership programme offered 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. Interactive and experiential sessions around rocket designing, coding, building and testing; simulated astronaut training, shuttle missions and moonwalk, and sessions on the importance of STEM learning were held. Students also meet scientists, engineers, and former astronauts, who share their first-hand professional experiences.
Speaking about their experience, students said that the best part of the camp was learning about rockets and indulging in practical activities. They also said that there is no need for Indian students to feel an inferiority complex as what we learn is much more advanced than we think.
“True that they have more application-based syllabus, but ours is more advanced. We saw that they couldn’t solve simple equations and other problems that we learn in Std VIII-IX. Also, we know English much better than students from countries like France, Germany, China, etc. and they find this quite fascinating. We have a lot of knowledge, we now need to learn to implement it better,” Aishwarya Narwadkar said.
The students said that the camp inspired them to think towards making a career in this field. “We have too many engineers. This camp made me realise that there are so many areas where research is necessary, yet it’s lacking. It’s time we students shift our focus,” Pradyun Hebbar said. The students also stated that they learnt important lessons in team building, leadership skills and now have a global friend base.