In a community where the goal is for Oakdale kids to go far; local soon-to-be-sixth grader, Audrey Clark, has her sights set on the stars.
Saturday, May 30, marked the first rocket launch from U.S. soil since 2011. In preparation for the event, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partnered with SpaceEx and aimed for a widespread social media campaign to encourage people to show them how they were getting ready for the launch. Audrey Clark jumped on the opportunity.
And on May 26, just days before the launch, NASA shared Audrey’s video on their social media channels; it was part of a montage with other social media submissions, and featured her with a rocket and decked out in a NASA jumpsuit saying “Hi, I’m Audrey Clark and I built this baking soda rocket and I’m gonna launch it!”
The video didn’t simply appear on YouTube, though. Audrey and her family were surprised to see it premiere on television during the actual launch four days later.
“There was a video on Facebook that they posted,” she explained, “but we didn’t know it was going to be on TV when we were watching, it was pretty cool.”
Audrey’s interactions with NASA didn’t simply start and end here, either. She plans to work at NASA when she grows up.
“I first wanted to work at NASA in second or third grade. I remember watching the movie Hidden Figures and then thought about NASA and how I could work there,” she relayed. “My GATE teacher Ms. (Brenda) Combs really helped me decide that I wanted to be in NASA and my friends Chloe and Lily had helped me build things.”
Before schools stopped meeting in person, the GATE program was working with bottle rockets. Students gathered materials like bottles and cereal boxes to design their own rockets complete with fins and all. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the chance to launch their rockets before the pandemic.
“The baking soda is reusable, so I could wash it out and do it again,” Audrey explained, referring to the rocket featured in the popular YouTube video.
Audrey has also entered another NASA competition involving a lunar sampler and has done her research to figure out what she wants to do as part of NASA. Though some may dream of being an astronaut, Audrey has decided she wants to be an aerospace engineer.
With math and science currently her favorite subjects, the young student is already on a good track: “At first I wanted to be a mathematician but now I want to be an aerospace engineer. The aerospace engineer makes the plans to build rockets and do tests. But mathematicians would calculate how far the rocket would go.”
For now, Audrey has to be satisfied with making a good first impression on the NASA community. Check out the YouTube video by searching “How Are You Preparing to #LaunchAmerica?”