A ‘Rockets ‘N Rollin’ Summer for Future Engineers

High school students given the opportunity to explore math, science, and engineering hands-on projects through university-wide COSMOS program


Beginning this July, selected high school students from across California had the unique opportunity to participate in a four week program called CaliforniaState and Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) at UC Irvine. After partaking in a competitive admissions process, students began intensive summer school class “clusters,” focusing on various areas of math, science, and engineering, while experiencing residence life on campus.


Twenty-two students participated in the cluster titled, “Rockets ‘N Rollin’ Engineering,” taught by Derek Dunn-Rankin, Faryar Jabbari and Ken Mease, professors of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Through lecture material and hands-on class projects, students were able to explore different topics relating to aerospace and mechanical engineering, ranging from flight mechanics and control, aerodynamics, and jet and rocket propulsion, to basic mechanical engineering designs for creating engine power in automobiles, and the analysis and exploration of electric vehicles, hybrid-electrics, and fuel cell cars.


In addition, the students were able to work in mechanical and aerospace engineering laboratories, giving them a place to practice their new knowledge, such as constructing and designing water rockets, as well as remote-controlled airplanes. On Aug. 1, students flew their planes on campus above University Hills, where most aircraft models experienced successful and multiple flights.


Working in pairs, the students were also asked to complete a research project, and then present their findings at the end of the program during the COSMOS symposium. The top project from the “Rockets ‘N Rollin’ Engineering” cluster was presented in an all-COSMOS session.


Students celebrated the conclusion of the program with a farewell dance and closing ceremony.