Currently, I’m a senior in high school. I started rocketry in my sophomore year with my own TARC team and the Vertical Projectile NASA SL Team (Albert's team). I mostly helped this year with documentation and tried to stay out of the way of all the older members since I didn't quite understand rocketry at that time. I followed that up with continuing on the VP NASA SL team as well as joining the VP TARC Team, also captained by Albert. This year, we had a team of 5 members, with me being the youngest member and the last one who could continue the team the following year. I wavered back and forth for a while about being captain of a team on my own, but eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn't want the Vertical Projectile name to end earlier than necessary.
So continue the team I did. In August of 2018, I was officially the captain of the 3rd year of the VP Team. Albert, the great captain I looked up to, was going off the college, so while he was here, I managed to get a few tips and tricks on managing a team. Thanks to Albert, I felt comfortable guiding a team of my own.
This year is the last year of Vertical Projectile unfortunately, but I'm glad to have accepted the position of Captain. After this, I am planning on studying biomedical engineering in college.
Since the first year I was on this team, I have seen a lot of growth, both in myself and the team. When I first joined, I was following Albert and I was trying to avoid dragging down the team as much as possible. I didn't do things that we're assigned because I was scared I was going to mess it up, and I didn't offer ideas because I wasn't sure if my idea was even worth considering. However, I eventually got over it and I was able to speak in front of the team, present to professionals, and lead my own team. When I think about the team I joined, it was a group of experienced student rocketeers (or at least that was the case from my point of view). I was able to watch the team grow even more during the first two years on this team. Then when everyone excluding me graduated, I had the opportunity of watching the team start again from a group of mostly inexperienced individuals and grow into a mostly-oiled machine (with a few hiccups here and there)
Being a part of this team has taught me a lot of things, such as teamwork and responsibility. Working with the team really has helped me improve my ability to work in a team, as building a rocket isn’t exactly a one-man job. The mentors also helped me to learn how to properly do things regarding the rocket. Also, I’ve learned to be more responsible for my own tasks, so that I don’t drag down the rest of the team. I’ve also learned about commitment to a project, since rocketry is a somewhat long-term project, and you need to be committed to see it through. Other than teamwork and responsibility, I’ve learned how to use software such as RockSim, and I’ve also learned how to build rockets in general.
Rocketry has really helped me to experience a new activity that I never really thought was available to me. As captain, I've been responsible for a lot of things, and since this is my first year as captain, I made mistakes here and there in guiding the team. However, I'm thankful to the team and the mentors for sticking with me, especially through the first month of the learning phase where I wasn't confident in my skills as a captain. I’m also really thankful for the opportunity that was given to me by Albert and my mentors, Mr. and Mrs. Koepke to learn so much.
I hope that I'm carrying the name of Vertical Projectile well.
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