UCF MindSET, Rocket Engine Test Milestone, & Amazon Future Engineering Program (Nov. 2018)

During the past three weeks, the Florida Delta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, at the University of Central Florida, has hosted three MindSET activity sessions at Riverdale Elementary School. Approximately, 50 K-5th grade students have participated in these sessions. The image below is from the most recent introduction to Sphero robotics module.

The volunteer is Daniela Ojeda of LEAD Scholars.

This module was performed with the objective of teaching students about the fundamentals of block coding, employing 4×4 squares on the ground for students to experiment with different coding methods. Their primary objective was to form a triangle, and then increasingly complex shapes of their own choosing. Details an images provided by Nam H. Tran, FL D 2019, chapter corresponding secretary.


Jeff T. Thornburg, MO B ’95, is vice president of propulsion engineering at Stratolaunch and was in the news for recently “completing the first hot-fire test of a full-scale rocket engine component known as the preburner, a major milestone in the development of any launch vehicle or propulsion system.”

Thornburg previously worked for NASA and SpaceX and earned his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri S&T). According to the article, Stratolaunch is one of only four private entities developing a liquid-fueled rocket engine as large as PGA.


Amazon has launched the Future Engineering Program with an aim to teach coding to over 10 million students per year. It will start with free summer camps for the students from grade eight and would lead them to the Amazon offices around the country for training purpose in future. Then Amazon employees will voluntarily participate in teaching campaigns. Further, online classes and games will be available for kids via Amazon partners including Code.org and Coding with kids.

Jeff A. Wilke, NJ D ’89, Amazon’s CEO worldwide consumer, said in a statement: “We’re pretty confident that knowing how to code will be as important as knowing how to read for the jobs of the future.” Read the announcement here.


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