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Fisk Altitude Achievement Missile Team (FAAMT)

Fisk University Soars to New Heights

For the past 5 years, a little know rocket program Fisk Altitude Achievement Missile Teamhas emerged at Fisk University.  The program known as the Fisk Altitude Achievement Missile Team (F.A.A.M.T.) was created to compete in the NASA sponsored University Student Launch Initiative (USLI), but has grown into so much more.  The mandate of the competition was to design, build, and launch a rocket to take a scientific payload to an altitude of exactly one mile.  Schools were also expected to engage in outreach as part of their program.  When Fisk engaged in this outreach, it was quickly realized that there was a need for FAAMT’s involvement in outreach in Nashville’s Metro public schools.  In short, the outreach program took on a life of its own. 

Historical Highlights:

  • First Established Rocket Program at an HCBU
  • FAAMT member Leah Randle becomes first African American female to receive her Level I and Level II rocket certification from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). 
  • Fisk placed 4th out of 8 schools in first year of competition beating Alabama A & M, Auburn University and Mississippi State University (Fisk has no Engineering program nor Aerospace as does the other schools in the competition).
  • FAAMT becoming pipeline for students to enter internships and possible employment at NASA and NASA contractors.  
  • FAAMT outreach program impacting over 4000 students through outreach over past 5 years. 
  • Ultimate goal – to be first HBCU to launch object into outer space.

FAAMT has grown into a program that is not just to pipeline Fisk University Students into the field of Space exploration.  The outreach component of FAAMT has become a highly motivational force in the Nashville’s Metro Public Schools.  FAAMT engages middle and high school students in STEM related activities with Astronomy, Rocketry, & Robotics in particular.  The outreach component’s mission is to do its part to help close the achievement gap for students of color in schools across Nashville. 

Engagement in these activities has a two-fold benefit.  It inspires young students in urban environments to become young scholars in STEM, and it gives the Fisk students a feeling of self-efficacy translating into motivations, retention, and achievement in their own studies.  The experiences also pipeline Fisk students into Space exploration fields for their post-undergraduate studies and employment. 

FAAMT will use its support to expand its reach into the community by mentoring more middle and high school students in the aforementioned STEM fields.  FAAMT will establish rocketry and robotics science clubs in several metro public schools with the aim of establishing an annual competition between these schools.  This is meant to create academic rivalries that will boost achievement and motivation for urban and at-risk students of color alike. 

FAAMT is committed to the upward mobility of its students and the urban youth of Nashville.