Collier Row teen gets scholarship to American space centre

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 May 2015

Joseph Kavanagh, 16, of Heather Way, Collier Row, took part in a week long leadership academy at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama

Joseph Kavanagh, 16, of Heather Way, Collier Row, took part in a week long leadership academy at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama

(c)2014 Binomio

A teenager had the experience of a lifetime at a space and rocket centre in America.

Joseph Kavanagh, of Heather Way, Collier Row, went through a vigorous application and testing process to be picked as one of 306 students from 39 countries to fly to Alabama for a leadership programme which focuses on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The 16-year-old spent a week at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville with Honeywell, who run the leadership challenge, where he met scientists, engineers and former astronauts.

They give him and his fellow international classmates first hand professional experiences of their lives at the centre and helped the students with team-building challenges.

Joseph said: “Attending the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy was an amazing experience I won’t soon forget.

“It was an opportunity to make some great friends from all over the world while also having an awesome time together as a team.

“The rocket flight simulator was amazing and anyone offered this experience should take it as I guarantee you will have a blast.”

Joseph, who attends the Campion School in Winletyre Lane, Hornchurch, when he isn’t in the States, took part in a number of challenges while at the Space and Rocket Centre.

These included designing, building and testing their own rockets and participating in astronaut training, such as shuttle missions and a moon walk.

Michael Bennett, the president of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s global corporate citizenship initiative, said: “Our goal is to continue to develop a new generation of leaders, engineers and scientists who can address the challenges of tomorrow.

“The Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy programme engaged these exceptional students in meaningful science and maths-based challenges and introduced them to a world of rewarding STEM careers.”

Joseph is now one of nearly 1,450 students from across the globe to be offered a scholarship for the programme since its launch five years ago.

Dr Deborah Barnhart, the chief executive and director of the Space and Rocket Centre, said: “With this opportunity, we allowed them to see a vision of themselves in the future without any filters, families and friends.

“They judged themselves against their global peer group and considered a course of action for their own future.”

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