Three years ago, if you’d have told Trent Bekker he’d be finishing out his UM-Dearborn career with an internship at NASA, there’s no way he would have believed you. But as of spring 2019, that’s exactly where he finds himself. It’s an impressive achievement on its own. What makes it extra remarkable, though, is that Bekker has done it without the benefit of studies in an aerospace program — something UM-Dearborn currently doesn’t have.
What UM-Dearborn does have, however, is a student rocket team. And that’s in large part thanks to Bekker himself. He’s not only one of the group’s founding members; he’s shepherded the team through those make or break initial years as president since 2017. With more than 40 active members, it’s now one of the largest competitive engineering teams on campus. And they’re now making their presence felt at national student rocket competitions in New Mexico and Arizona.
“Even until recently, I did not think I was capable of getting noticed by aerospace companies,” Bekker said. “So I think my experiences up to this point have shown me that with hard work and support from advisers and friends, it is possible to achieve the goals you so desperately want to.”
The personal opportunities mean a lot to Bekker. But when he reflects on his club experience, the thing he’s proudest of is the legacy he’s leaving for future generations. Now, when a UM-Dearborn student discovers his or her love of space exploration, they’ll have a ready-made path to begin their journey.
“I am not a Difference Maker because of how incredibly smart I am or because I am themost hardworking student in the classroom,” Bekker said. “I believe I am one because I have found my passion and strive every day to light the flame in my peers around me.”