Though Mazin Rahman wants to be a doctor, he recognized a leadership opportunity in the Huntsville, Ala.-based program. He drove south with his dad for the camp, which was held during the first week of March.
“It was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it gave me memories that will last a lifetime,” said Mazin, a junior at Glenwood High School in Chatham. “This is something that not many people get to have.”
Mazin’s father works for Honeywell, which ran and organized the Leadership Challenge Academy for children of its employees. Students ages 16 to 18 had the “unique opportunity to build and hone their leadership skills by tackling real-world challenges in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” according to Honeywell’s description of the conference.
Honeywell created the program in conjunction with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Participants learned about the American Space Program and talked about current issues within the science and technology fields. They performed a series of challenges and had to solve problems in various scenarios.
Students also saw behind-the-scenes artifacts, simulated astronaut training and got to see what it’s like to walk on the moon. In addition, the teens met with experts, including former astronaut Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson. To participate, Mazin wrote an essay and talked about his volunteering experience and academic success. While at the camp, he met hundreds of students.
“It was a lot of fun, and I met a lot of new friends from around the world,” Mazin said.
It was about “learning how these people live and just seeing how they’re just like me,” he said.
He most enjoyed a flight simulation activity when his team split into four groups. Some students worked in mission control, others practiced flying the ship from the cockpit, another group fixed the satellite and, when in the final group, students experienced life as scientists. The students had to take off, fix the satellite and land safely.
In an aviation challenge, the students had to simulate flying fighter jets while trying to protect the president from terrorists. The participating students created a Facebook group and plan to keep in touch. “I’m really glad I took this opportunity,” Mazin said.
Mazin wants to become a doctor. The camp emphasized leadership skills, teamwork, trusting in others and getting the job done, which he said will help in his future studies.