FULL - Illinois Aerospace Institute

Camp is FULL for Summer 2024.
Application is OPEN for Summer 2024. Register Now.
Application is CLOSED for Summer 2024.
This is an INVITE-ONLY camp.
Application is TBA for Summer 2024. Check back soon.

Age Group: 9th - 12th


  • Residential: $1,000
  • Commuter:
  • Virtual: $150
  • Day Camp:

Category: 3-D Sessions


  • Jul 14 - 20 (R)
  • Jul 21 - 27 (V)
  • Jun 9 - 15 (R)

Residence Hall:

Scholarships: Yes, see details No

IAI Campers working in the computer lab
IAI Campers working in the computer lab

The 2024 Illinois Aerospace Institute (IAI) summer camp is a one-week on-campus camp with two session offerings in the summer and a one-week virtual program held over Zoom. Students may attend only one of the offerings. The IAI summer camp is for students entering grades 9-12 who are interested in learning about the field of aerospace engineering through hands-on projects, classroom lesson content, field trips, and guest speakers. The Aerospace Engineering Department prefers the placement of Juniors and Seniors in the on-campus camp.

What You Will Learn:

What is aerospace engineering?

Instructors will present discussions online about various topics within the field of aerospace engineering and related to aerospace vehicles.  The topics that are covered for IAI include:

  • Introductions to Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Model Glider Design
  • Model Rocket Design (If virtual: Egg Drop Lander Design)
  • Aerospace Materials and Structures
  • Aircraft Flight Mechanics
  • Aerodynamics and Wind Tunnel Experiments
  • Orbits and Satellite Design
  • Space Missions and Discoveries
  • Rocket Propulsion and Aircraft Propulsion
  • Aeronautics Computational Design – Excel Based
  • Astronautics Computational Design – Python Based

Model Workshop

Model workshops are a hands-on learning experience for students. Students will apply their knowledge from the instructors’ presentations, their own experience with craft projects, and their passion for engineering building to design model gliders and model rockets. Each student is provided with materials and builds the models.  Students are monitored and assisted by staff, but there is an expectation that students will read and follow the provided model-building instructions and use trial and error to craft their projects. For the virtual/online version of the camp, the project build time is more open-ended, and we’ll have you launch your models at home by filming the flights. Assistance from friends or family in filming and launching the models is requested. 

Virtual Camp Note: Virtual participants will need to have access to a computer, Zoom, a scientific calculator, and ordinary school supplies (ruler, scissors, etc.). All sessions take place in real-time. Be sure to pay attention to time zones. International campers should also be aware that the lab kits will only be shipped domestically and will not be shipped internationally. International campers wishing to enroll will need to purchase their own supplies. A list of supplies will be available a month prior to the start of camp. The registration fee will be reduced by $100.

Contact information for IAI

  • For more information about IAI enrollment, contact Sarah Schneider, il-aero-inst@Illinois.edu
  • For more information about  IAI content and aerospace engineering curriculum, contact Dr. Elle Wroblewski (they/them/theirs), wroblew3@illinois.edu 
  • If you have questions about your application contact wyse@illinois.edu

The Illinois Aerospace Institute is sponsored by the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois.


IAI Campers working in a lab with a TA to construct models
IAI Campers working with a TA in lab


Laura Gerhold  - bio coming soon! 

Elle Wroblewski - bio coming soon! 

Sarah Schneider - bio coming soon! Email: il-aero-inst@Illinois.edu 

Frequently Asked Questions