The University of Michigan Department of Aerospace Engineering is dedicated to connecting with the K-12 community. Twice a year we engage with young students and educators through various outreach events within our state of the art facility, the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Building and off-site at local elementary, middle and high schools. We are always looking for new opportunities to inspire future rocket scientists. Contact our Outreach Manager, Kimberly Johnson to learn more.
Calling all Outreach Volunteers
Are you passionate about aerospace engineering and want to share it with the K-12 community? Join the outreach committee as we inspire young students through a variety of virtual and in-person visits (starting Fall 2021) to our campus, high schools and other universities. We also invite volunteers to share their experiences with freshmen who are still deciding on a major.
Join us! Share your ideas, present at a school, give a tour, or serve on our Outreach Committee. At any capacity, join our journey to inspire a future generation of engineers!
Volunteer with rewards!
Our student volunteers are eligible to win an annual Aerospace Outreach Student Champion Award! Award recipients receive up to $1500 and are recognized at the College of Engineering Leaders and Honors Ceremony. Contact our Outreach Manager, Kimberly Johnson.
Our Community Partners
- Flint Southwestern Classical Academy – Flint, MI
- Pioneer High School – Ann Arbor, MI
- Huron High School – Ann Arbor, MI
- Davis Aerospace High School – Detroit, MI
- Frank Cody High School – Detroit, MI
Our Outreach Programs
Live “Cool Things in U-M Aero” Seminars
Attention Educators – Team up with our Teaching Academy to enhance your students learning experience. Our graduate students will come to your classroom, virtually or in-person, to share their research with you students in a way that enlightens and inspires them regarding flight and space engineering. Our graduate students will collaborate with you to support your existing curriculum to suit your students. The seminar series includes eight visits over a given fall or winter term. Contact our Outreach Manager, Kimberly Johnson
Aerospace Alumni Ambassadors – If She Can, I Can! / If He Can, I Can! Program
Attention Alumni – When was the last time that you visited your middle and high school alma maters? What better person to inspire young students than someone who can relate to where they currently sit (literally). We will make all of the arrangements for you, you only have to show up (virtually)! If you are looking for a way to give back and be a true role model for a young boy or girl, the Aerospace Alumni Ambassadors program is for you. Contact our Outreach Manager, Kimberly Johnson
Sit in on an Undergraduate Class
Attention Educators and High School Students – Have you ever sat in on a University of Michigan Seminar? Well, here’s your chance. Whether you are an individual student or a teacher with an entire classroom of students, we invite you to attend our weekly undergraduate seminar class, AE200, on Fridays at 1:30 pm. Why this class? Because it gives students a diverse understanding of the career opportunities, leadership, and culture within the aerospace industry directly from a variety of successful alumni speakers who graduated from our program. Contact our Outreach Manager, Kimberly Johnson
Past Outreach Initiatives
Davis Aerospace High School
U-M Aerospace Engineering has been cultivating a relationship with Davis Aerospace High School over the past two years with the goal of increasing Davis graduates’ interest in attending a 4-year college after graduation. Department Chair, Dr. Tony Waas, and Outreach Manager, Kimberly Johnson, are working closely with principal Neal Morrison, to achieve his primary objective of adding engineering to Davis Aerospace’s aviation focused curriculum. Davis’ top 10 students will get a chance to attend the AE200 undergrad seminar this fall and winter in a continued partnership with UM Aero. This seminar exposes juniors and seniors to a diverse set of career options available to them if they were to pursue engineering degrees. Future plans are for U-M grad students and postdocs to teach ENG100, U-M’s intro to engineering course, onsite at Davis Aero to provide continuing exposure to engineering.
Anouck Girard, Associate ProfessorProfessor Girard hopes to teach the next generation of engineers (and their parents) about the very real science that goes into ensuring that unmanned vehicles are flown safely and efficiently. As Co-Director of UM’s Vehicle Optimization, Dynamics, Control and Autonomy Laboratory, she hopes to “research and develop enabling technologies for controlling advanced and increasingly autonomous vehicles operating in space, air, ground and marine domains” using control theory. But on certain days, she serves as Madam Hooch, the fictional Quidditch coach and referee.
The Quidditch game that Professor Girard has recreated with undergraduate lab assistants Sabrina Olson and Ana Timoficiuc, Aerospace Engineering Professor Ilya Kolmanovsky, graduate students, and the FXB technical staff is close to the sport described in the Harry Potter novels. On each side of the pitch, there are three hoops. The operator of the drone acts as the Keeper, maneuvering their drone like it’s a Quaffle; if the drone flies through a hoop, ten points go to that player’s team. In the high school version of the event, contact with the “flying snitch” quadcopter results in an automatic win. The players are even sorted into Hogwarts Houses, receiving red, yellow, green, purple or blue laser-cut tokens that denote the house and a historical anecdote about the University of Michigan.
Student at Aerospace Day
Students at Aerospace Day watch the AE 205 hovercraft competition
Students race their blimps during the annual Aerospace Day festivities in the FXB Building on North Campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI
Every semester, the Department of Aerospace Engineering hosts Aerospace Day. Aerospace Day, the Department’s biggest outreach event. Student project teams will be showcasing their projects and leading interactive activities with young students, and the Engineering 100 blimp competition and Aero 205 hovercraft competition will be held in the atrium. This is an exciting opportunity to learn more about the Aerospace Department and the opportunities it offers, and to excite visiting students who are interested in aerospace engineering! Dates change from year to year so please check the Aerospace Calendar for dates and times.
Aerospace Day at the University of Michigan has become the department’s biggest outreach event, bringing in young students from across Michigan. It’s a great way to meet and connect with the next generation of aerospace engineers!