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High Power Rocketry Program: Undergraduate Research Experience for an HBCU

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovative Methods to Teach Engineering to URMs

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.773.1 - 22.773.17



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Paper Authors


Showkat Chowdhury Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Showkat Chowdhury is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Dr. Chowdhury has extensive background in teaching undergraduate and graduate students in Mechanical Engineering, and performing research in the fields of Nano-composites, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Heat & Mass Transfer and Combustion. Previously, he worked as a Professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) and at University of Brighton, U.K. He also worked in the Research Division of Corning Inc. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, New York and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BUET.

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Mohamed A. Seif Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Mohamed Seif got his Ph.D. in 1988 from University of Central Florida. Currently, he is the chair of Mechanical Engineering Department at Alabama A&M University. The main research topics were or are still: health monitoring of missile and aerospace structures, damage assessment and reliability analysis, Laser measurements in Experimental Mechanics, cracks and flaws Evaluation, NDE using Laser and ultrasonic techniques, design optimization, and Nanotechnology.

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High Power Rocketry Program: Undergraduate Research Experience for an HBCUInvolvement of undergraduate students in research or projects related to theirdiscipline have been found to be very effective in improving the students’learning outcome, and prepare them better for their jobs on graduation and/orentering into graduate school. Alabama A&M University, a Historically BlackCollege or University (HBCU), engages a group of about twelve undergraduateengineering students in a challenging project to develop a high power RocketryProgram, in cooperation with NASA and Alabama Space Grant Consortium. Thestudents are involved in the design, construction, testing, launching, and recoveryof a reusable rocket with a scientific payload. The activities involve diverseaspects such as planning and scheduling, purchasing, performing calculations andanalysis, coordinating logistics, and design reviews. They are mentored by facultyadvisors. Alabama A&M University rocketry team is one of the 20 teams selectedby NASA nationwide under the University Student Launch Initiative (USLI)program, and financially supported by the Alabama Space Grant Consortium.Students from mechanical, electrical & civil engineering and technologydepartments, mostly underrepresented minority, are involved in this excitingproject. Successful launch and recovery of the rocket and retrieval of the scientificdata inspires the next batch of students to continue this rocketry project as asustainable research program.

Chowdhury, S., & Seif, M. A. (2011, June), High Power Rocketry Program: Undergraduate Research Experience for an HBCU Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18054

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