Do you live in San Antonio, Texas and want to do something related to aerospace? There are lots of ways to channel your passion into a fun, productive activity for yourself or with other people!
That is a big point of Tip #2 in my book, How To Be a Rocket Scientist. Tip #2 is Expand your concept of rocket science. There are more and easier ways to get started with rocket science than you probably realize!
The options here cover a wide range of ages and interests. Some are for kids (or the kids in each of us). If you are an adult looking for aerospace work or jobs in San Antonio, these groups can provide excellent networking opportunities. (Jump to the bottom for links about jobs.) The most relevant in the main list would probably be AIAA, but scan the list and consider others you would like to get involved with. (Getting involved with others locally is a great way to execute Tip #3: Associate with others in the field.)
This is a world-class experience and facility for K-12 STEM with aerospace themes and topics. See my trip report for some pictures and descriptions of what I loved about it.
AIAA is the world’s largest professional society for all things aerospace. The local Section is made up of local AIAA members who serve as volunteers for a large range of activities such as dinner meetings, tours, STEM classroom visits, and more. They can also be facilitators to connect you with more resources and programs available through the international AIAA organization such as classroom grants (yes–money for teachers and classrooms!), student activities, parent resources, and much more.
Do you really want to be a pilot? How does an exclusive ride in a small, private airplane sound? The Young Eagles program from EAA exists to encourage and help kids get off the ground with their dreams of flight–literally. Click there, select your location, and look for the names and phone numbers of someone near you. When I post this I see two people in San Antonio. One has a phone number. This may take some persistence and resourcefulness to track someone down. That’s called persistence and determination! Enjoy the feeling because you’ll need it often to become a pilot. 🙂
This is possibly the most exciting STEM competition for aerospace geeks in the United States. Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, teams of 3-10 students design, build, and fly a rocket in order to meet certain competition goals. This requires a significant amount of time and volunteer sponsorship (and advanced planning), but many successful rocket scientists point to this program as the biggest influence in their decision to pursue a STEM education and career. If you know of any San Antonio TARC teams or sponsors, tell us about it with a comment below!
5. Radio Control Airplane Clubs
I owe much of my love (and early knowledge) of airplanes and aerospace engineering to building and flying R/C airplanes as a kid in junior high and high school. Fantastic memories with my father and others with the smell of glue, balsa wood, airplane fuel, and the whining roar of airplanes buzzing overhead. Here are a few clubs that look active in San Antonio:
Or a never-fail technique is to visit your nearest hobby store and ask the owner about a nearby club.
If rockets are more of your thing, get connected with them!
7. Astronomy Clubs
It looks like you have a few choices here too:
- San Antonio Astronomical Association
- San Antonio League of Sidewalk Astronomers (SALSA)
- Alamo City Astronomy Club
8. Meetup groups
Do some searches for your interests. I found another R/C club called San Antonio Flight Fanatics.
That’s the list of informal or free education resources that can help you learn how to be a rocket scientist in San Antonio, Texas (taking advantage of those is using Tip #7 from the book). To complete the list of aerospace resources in the Alamo city, here are the formal education programs:
This academy is for high school students who are at least 16 years old, have completed at least 13 credits by the end of their sophomore year, and meet the other qualifications listed on the website. Students will receive powerful technical training in airframe and powerplant mechanics for careers in aerospace maintenance. They also receive a paid industry internship between the junior and senior year! This is a fantastic way to achieve a Short Take-off (STO) into the aerospace or aviation industry (more on that in my book with Tip #6).
This is another fantastic way to achieve a Short Take-off (STO) into the aerospace or aviation industry after high school. Check out their aviation technician courses. They also offer a Bachelors degree in Aviation Maintenance Management.
Obtaining an engineering degree is a great path and fit for many people. There are many types of engineers (and engineering degrees) in the aerospace world. The information for aerospace courses or concentrations is sparse on their website, so use the contact information on the website to inquire directly if you want to know more.
Here are more additions since my original post:
12. Civil Air Patrol
The CAP is an auxiliary force of the US Air Force. It is made up of volunteers who put their airplanes and flying skills to use in defense of the United States. There is an opportunity for students to get involved as described in this Joint Base San Antonio news article, which hosts one of the CAP Wings. At the main CAP website you can search for CAP wings near you. I see 3 to choose from in San Antonio!
Still looking for aerospace activities in the San Antonio region?
The best way to become a rocket scientist (or aerospace professional) is to start doing something that is related to your long-term goals and vision. Joining a group or program where you get to learn by doing with others who are farther along in a similar journey is a powerful recipe for success.
If you know about another program or group that I missed here, please tell us about it with a comment below! Ask a question about any of these too and I’ll do my best to provide a helpful answer.
Are you looking for a list like this in a different city? You can do a web search for each of these topics while adding [your city] in the search box to see what you find. Here’s an invitation–after you’ve done that, share the list with me and I’ll let you be a guest author for that blog post here! You will help other people in your city and have a nice page in the spotlight here. 🙂
If you came to this page looking for aerospace jobs or aviation jobs in San Antonio, here are some national websites that might help you narrow a focus into a more local search:
- Space Careers – www.space-careers.com
- Aviation Employment – www.aviationemployment.com
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics – Career Center careercenter.aiaa.org
- Aerospace Industry Employment – www.aeroindustryjobs.com
Thanks to those of you who tuned into the SASTEMIC Tech City USA Radio show on KLUP 930 AM (every Saturday at 9-10am CST) on May 23rd, 2015, when I was a guest to talk about these local opportunities and more tips to enter the aerospace field. The show recap and recording is now available here.
Thanks for your interest in rocket science and doing great things in STEM! We still need more rocket scientists!