Rose-Hulman USLI Team in Search of a Mentor

DAllen

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The R-H USLI team needs a mentor for this coming school year. Rose-Hulman is a small engineering school Terra Haute, IN west of Indianapolis near the Illinois border. If you are interested in this very rewarding experience please PM me here and I can get you in touch with the team. This is a team that is definitely off to a great start with students who know what they are doing. Several already have a L1 and I think one or two might have a L2. While it's very helpful to visit the school in person while they are building the rocket it is not required. Being at the launches they attend would be ideal. Also, individuals who want to do this are going to need to be an L2 to handle the motors.

I cannot recommend this experience enough. College students are a hoot to work with because they make a geezer like me feel young.

-Dave
 

heada

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I'm potentially interested but I've never been involved in the USLI mentoring. Can you give a short list of what is involved in a typical mentoring role for USLI?
 

DAllen

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Where do they intend to do the bulk of their flying?

As I understand it, they want to fly mostly with Indiana Rocketry since that's closest. However, they don't seem afraid to travel because I met them at Three Oaks and they also made an appearance at MMWP.

I'm potentially interested but I've never been involved in the USLI mentoring. Can you give a short list of what is involved in a typical mentoring role for USLI?

Here's the way I handle it:
- Make myself as available as I can to answer questions. So I let them text/email me and I answer as soon as I can. The students I work with are very respectful about not showering me with nonsense. A lot of the questions are looking for recommendations to where to source materials and components
- I try to make a visit on campus at least once a month (or more) to see what they have going on. Usually I spend about an hour or two and ask questions. Visits are not required.
- They usually have 2 sub-scale launches and three or four full scale launches so you'll need to be at all of those - if possible.
- You'll have to assemble the motor and ejection charges.
- Travel to Huntsville and collect a tidy stipend check. These trips to Huntsville are my favorite part.
 

Grandpa$

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Last year, after I found out that the university would hold me liable for everything that might occur, I said no.
 

Johnly

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I've been involved in the NASA SLP program since the 2009-2010 program year. It's challenging for the students, but the mentor's primary task is to guide the students away from known pitfalls, designing themselves into an inescapable corners, and provide them with guidance as to proper HPR construction skills.
The rewards are more than commensurate with the efforts you put forward.
 

Grandpa$

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I'm trying to figure out how that would work. Did they ask you to sign a liability waiver or something?
Yes. I can't give you a exact wording,but it did have "shall" and "all" in it. And I wasn't the only one, at least two other people in our club also declined.

The team did come to our launches at Indiana Rocketry and they are a dedicated group of people. They were willing to listen and take advice.
 

DAllen

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I’ve never signed anything. Sounds like someone fed you a line of BS. Can’t see how that would hold up in court. Plus how would it be any different if you flew your own rocket and something happened? This is what we have NAR and TRA insurance for…
 

Richard Dierking

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SLI and USLI are NASA workforce development programs. The use of the term "mentor" is unfortunate in my opinion. Advisor or something else would be better. These advisors are really not supported by NASA or TRA. Unless some significant recent changes have taken place, "mentor" activities are not insured by either TRA or NASA. So, errors or omissions could be totally the responsibility of the "mentor."

I know that NASA can provide insurance to volunteers. I was in a NASA volunteer program for several years. Volunteers apply for the position, the applicants are screened including complete background checks, and if accepted, are insured through the program.

I wish the responsibilities and liabilities of being a student team mentor were more clearly defined by TRA.

This doesn't include insurance coverage flying rockets at approved launches. All members of TRA/NAR already have that.
 

DAllen

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That makes zero sense. The team is flying a rocket under my cert in my name at a sanctioned launch with a certified motor. I am loading the rocket with a motor I assembled and ignitor I placed. How the hell is that any different than if I fly my own rocket that is the same size/altitude/motor/etc? You're telling me TRA insurance won't cover the USLI rocket? What you are telling me doesn't add up.
 

DAllen

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I'm going to get the NAR/TRA/NASA involved in this thread. If what is being said about liability is true then there should never be any mentors working with any USLI team ever and that doesn't sound right to me. Emails are going out tonight...
 

Richard Dierking

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TRA may cover the rocket flight. I suggest you check with TRA on what is covered and what is not being a TRA Mentor. Perhaps you could post what you find out.

If it is your rocket flying under your certification the flight is your responsibility just like if you were flying a rocket you built completely. Then, if you are following all the rules/codes etc, TRA backs you up with insurance.

What I was saying and understand is that TRA doesn't cover the other stuff. Like if a student is injured during assembly. Hope that is clear now.

Keeping in mind that some TRA "mentors" do things like helping student teams with building solid and liquid rockets.

I think if TRA has a mentor program and recognizes someone as a mentor, they should be willing to back you up if something happens.
 

DAllen

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TRA may cover the rocket flight. I suggest you check with TRA on what is covered and what is not being a TRA Mentor. Perhaps you could post what you find out.

If it is your rocket flying under your certification the flight is your responsibility just like if you were flying a rocket you built completely. Then, if you are following all the rules/codes etc, TRA backs you up with insurance.

What I was saying and understand is that TRA doesn't cover the other stuff. Like if a student is injured during assembly. Hope that is clear now.

Keeping in mind that some TRA "mentors" do things like helping student teams with building solid and liquid rockets.

I think if TRA has a mentor program and recognizes someone as a mentor, they should be willing to back you up if something happens.

Sorry, that doesn't make sense either. How would I be responsible for a student assembling a rocket??? You're telling me that if a student hurts themselves on a drill press for example while drilling holes in the airframe I am somehow going to be held responsible for that when I am 60 miles away at home? No, I am not present for many of their build sessions - I can't be. So no, that's not clear to me...Liquid fuels? USLI does not allow for liquid fuels. NASA only allows for TRA/NAR solid propellant certified motors.

Additionally, the USLI rules clearly state that 100% of the work is to be done by the students. See 1.1 of the Student Launch Handbook. So mentors who are helping build the rocket are violating the rules to begin with which is quite literally the very first rule in the book.

No offense I'm getting the impression you do not understand what the USLI program is.
 

DAllen

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Last year, after I found out that the university would hold me liable for everything that might occur, I said no.

This is also very strange to me. To make a very long story short I was technically their mentor for March and April. No one from Rose-Hulman made mention of liability. I never had to sign anything. Weird.
 

rfjustin

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I'm going to get the NAR/TRA/NASA involved in this thread. If what is being said about liability is true then there should never be any mentors working with any USLI team ever and that doesn't sound right to me. Emails are going out tonight...
Please report back new learnings on this. Like you I am very confused by a lot of the input in this thread.
 

Richard Dierking

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No offense I'm getting the impression you do not understand what the USLI program is.
No offense taken. I'm not the one that raised the question of liability. And, I'm not an attorney either. So, if someone asks, how something would stand up in court, the best person to ask would be a PI lawyer.

Personally, if a team recognized and supported by a university asked me to be an advisor, I would at least request an insurance certificate naming me as additional insured. Maybe even a specific written endorsement of insurance.

Seems the question is pretty simple and straightforward. Does TRA, NAR, or NASA provide liability insurance for their mentors?

The answers may be a bit more complicated depending on the program or activities. Some advisors are "TRA Mentors" for university teams that are not involved in a specific competition like USLI. I don't even know if NAR provides any kind of liability insurance for American Rocketry Challenge Mentors btw.

However, can we agree that if you are a mentor (again, I would rather call it an advisor but what ever), and you provide a HP motor for a universally team that may have completely built the rocket, that rocket is your responsibility from prep to landing? If not you, then who?
 

DAllen

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No offense taken. I'm not the one that raised the question of liability. And, I'm not an attorney either. So, if someone asks, how something would stand up in court, the best person to ask would be a PI lawyer.

Then please stop commenting on this topic because you clearly do not know what you are talking about.

Personally, if a team recognized and supported by a university asked me to be an advisor, I would at least request an insurance certificate naming me as additional insured. Maybe even a specific written endorsement of insurance.

Seems the question is pretty simple and straightforward. Does TRA, NAR, or NASA provide liability insurance for their mentors?

Are you not paying attention? If the university team is flying a rocket. Under my certification. With a certified motor that I assembled at a sanctioned launch. WHY WOULDN'T THEY? This activity would be NO different than taking my own personal rocket and flying it to the same alt with the same motor etc.

I said this already and you are not listening.

The answers may be a bit more complicated depending on the program or activities. Some advisors are "TRA Mentors" for university teams that are not involved in a specific competition like USLI. I don't even know if NAR provides any kind of liability insurance for American Rocketry Challenge Mentors btw.

However, can we agree that if you are a mentor (again, I would rather call it an advisor but what ever), and you provide a HP motor for a universally team that may have completely built the rocket, that rocket is your responsibility from prep to landing? If not you, then who?

I really do not understand the need for folks like you to purposely derail a perfectly good thread especially when I've proven you really do not know what you're talking about. I'm trying to recruit a mentor for a program that is bettering the lives of many college students and potentially bettering our lives but now, because of your ill-informed posts that individual sounds like they may be backing out. For literally no good reason. Thanks a lot.
 

Grandpa$

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Okay, calm down everybody.

Yes, there was somebody at Rose Hulman* who didn't quite get it.
My parting comment was along the lines of "you don't understand, please do some research".
Hopefully they figured it out.
All I was saying was to please check it out before you commit yourself.

When the team came to our launches they were a good group of dedicated students and a joy to work with. If I didn't have health issues, I would be checking it out personally.

*The Internship office, why them?
 

DAllen

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Ok...Rose Hulman is still looking for a mentor. I am going to fill that role as best as I can but it'll be hard to do since I live so far away. I got a few folks who might be interested but no commitments as of yet. If you're interested in this very rewarding experience let me know.
 

Antares JS

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Ok...Rose Hulman is still looking for a mentor. I am going to fill that role as best as I can but it'll be hard to do since I live so far away. I got a few folks who might be interested but no commitments as of yet. If you're interested in this very rewarding experience let me know.
Sorry, I would love to do something like this but I am way over on the east coast.
 

QFactor

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Ok...Rose Hulman is still looking for a mentor. I am going to fill that role as best as I can but it'll be hard to do since I live so far away. I got a few folks who might be interested but no commitments as of yet. If you're interested in this very rewarding experience let me know.

As close as this team is to Purdue University, have they reached out to Purdue's local rocketry group for mentors? I know Purdue participates in both the NASA SLI and the Spaceport Cup. Even when universities compete against each other in these types of competitions, they always lend a helping hand with new teams.
 
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