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The need for a workforce that is better educated and trained to deal with severe storm related disasters. The SSPEED Center aims to develop a disaster-trained workforce to fill this gap via educational activities at the various universities, workshops, seminars and programs with K-12 institutions.


Programs and Initiatives


Developing a Disaster Trained Work Force

Students at the participating universities receive training in severe storm modeling, flood warning systems, risk analysis and disaster mitigation and planning. Students interact with industry and private sector leaders in emergency response, in addition to the researchers within SSPEED.


SSPEED Center teaches high school students about engineering

The SSPEED Center participated in the fifth annual Young Owls Leadership Program (YOLP). Its mission is to prepare rising high school students as both leaders in their communities and competitive applicants to top-tier colleges and universities. The SSPEED Center worked with YOLP to host more than 60 high school students and teach them about engineering through hands-on projects.


YOLP 2016 Video


Water Rockets:

The students were required to break into teams to launch water rockets and see which rocket could go the highest. As a fuel, water doesn't frequently come to mind. However, pressurized gas will force water out of this bottle rocket to launch it into the air. Students took an empty soda bottle, filled it with water and used a bike pump to pressurize gas and force the homemade rockets into the air. The students with the best rocket launch of the day had a three-winged that soared to 228 feet.


Water Rocket


"It was fascinating to see what affect the pressure had on the rockets flying," said Coriena Flores of Eastwood Academy.


Bridge Building Competition:

The other activity the students participated in was a bridge building competition with a K'nex construction set. The winner was determined by whose bridge held the most weight without collapsing. The winning team, named the "Fast Five" won the day's competition as their bridge held 68.8 lbs. "The bridge building competition took a lot of trial and error work on the structures and what held the most weight," said Daniel Chavez, a rising 10 th grader.











SSPEED Center at Rice University | Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
6100 Main MS-317, Houston, Texas 77005-1827
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1892, Houston,Texas 77251-1892 
(713) 348-4977   Email:
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