SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta High School robotics team has been awarded a grant by Aerojet Rocketdyne in December.  Additionally, the team has also fostered a relationship with vice president Mark Marino that will enable Sparta STEM Academy engineering strand students to do internships at their Carlstadt plant.

Students will also have internship opportunities with CP Professional Services in Sparta and Thorlabs in Newton.

Ray Roggero of CP Professional Services became involved in the Sparta High School Robotics team when his son Hunter was a member and captain of the team.

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“Ray has a heart for young people and a strong sense of community and responsibility to the development of future engineers and leaders of our country,” Meola said.  Over lunch last year, Roggero said he and his company wanted to “invest back into a program that meant so much to Hunter who is now majoring in mechanical engineering at RIT this year.”

Sebastian Gomez completed his internship with CP Professionals. “Things went so well they offered him a part time job for the remainder of his senior year.”  Gomez is interested in majoring in Civil Engineering. 

Meola said he worked with Jamie LaCouture and Eric McNulty, community outreach coordinators for Thorlabs but “ultimately it is Alex Cable, the owner of ThorLabs, who has a clear sense of the value of investing in young people across the county.”

Thorlabs has supported Sparta High School robotics financially for several years.  Meola said Cable recently expanded Thorlabs support of the Honors Robotics STEM Academy Internship program. 

Sparta High School students Anna Tartaglia and Ryan McQuillan begin their internship at Thorlabs later this month.

Meola said he has known Marino for years.  “He has always been someone with great insight, drive, wisdom and innovative thought as it relates to his profession as an engineer and his perspective on the need to promote STEM with young people,” Meola said.

Aerojet Rocketdyne has recently begun a more proactive outreach of encouraging high school students to pursue careers in STEM, Meola said.  The duo teamed up “seizing on the opportunity made possible by a shift in perspective at the corporate level and a partnership was formed.”

Sparta High School students Alan Yeung and Tom Scheri will start their internships at Aerojet Rocketdyne late February or early March.  Both boys are interested in aerospace engineering.

Meola noted all of the engines that have put a man on the moon were developed and built by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

“To this day they are a world leader in advanced propulsion and energetics systems for customers including the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and other agencies and companies, both in the United States and abroad,” Meola said.

The internships will afford the Sparta students the opportunity to gain work related experience in an engineering environment, Meola said