Ten N.J. Students Attend Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy

Jason Reinhard, Sparta
Colin Forbes, New Providence
Aaron Bennett, Randolph
Matthew Rotondi, Sparta

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Students from 38 countries and 33 U.S. states and territories attended the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HLCA) this year. The leadership program had two consecutive weeklong programs from Feb. 21 to March 7 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama. 

Participants included students from New Providence, Millburn, Randolph and Sparta.

HLCA uses interactive technology, science-oriented workshops and team exercises to teach children of Honeywell employees between the ages of 16-18 leadership skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Activities are delivered in fun and innovative ways that bring STEM studies to life. The program is designed to build students’ leadership skills and develop their capacities through hands on challenges.

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During the program, the students will meet scientists, engineers and former astronauts who will reinforce core leadership competencies and share their first-hand professional experiences.  Students will engage in team-building challenges such as designing, building and testing their own rockets; participating in simulated astronaut training, shuttle missions and a moon walk; and conducting DNA extraction experiments on fruit.

"It was a great experience. I did everything from flying in space to working in Mission Control and running a whole mission. I actually ended up flying Air Force 1 in the airplane simulator, where I did a barrel role with the President," said New Providence student Collin Forbes. "Just being able to learn these leadership skills and teamwork. Being able to work with people from around the world and achieve a task is unbelievable. It was incredible to work with the people from around the world and build relationships with them. I’ll definitely use this for my future. It definitely made me want to pursue a career in engineering or math and science. It was incredible."

Aaron Bennett, a junior at Randolph High School, said, "The Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center was an incredible experience. Apart from the unique opportunity to study space science, I think my favorite part of the program was meeting kids from all over the country and all over the world to learn about their ways of life and cultures.

"The program was designed to teach leadership and teamwork skills to the future leaders of the world. One of the biggest things I learned was that being a good leader doesn't always mean taking the lead. We were faced with some situations that I didn't have the knowledge or skill to handle, so I had to learn how to be an effective follower as well as leader."

"At the program, we were exposed to many different challenges, from flight simulator missions to engineering designs.  Each of my teammates brought a very different perspective to the table, and I learned much more from working with them than I would in any traditional classroom setting. I'm very grateful to Honeywell for providing me with this opportunity."

Since its launch in 2010, Honeywell, in partnership with the USSRC, has awarded more than 1156 scholarships to students. Scholarships are granted after a rigorous application and review processes based on academic achievement and community involvement.  Financial contributions from Honeywell Hometown Solutions and Honeywell employees help fund the scholarships, including tuition, meals, accommodations and program materials. 

Local students attending included:

Aidan Ahamparam, Millburn H.S. - Millburn
Aaron Bennett, Randolph H.S. - Randolph
Colin Forbes, New Providence H.S. - New Providence
Jason Reinhard, Sparta H.S. - Sparta
Matthew Rotondi, Sparta H.S. - Sparta

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Millburn/Short Hills