SCI Volunteer Spotlight: Get to know Jim Covey

SCI Volunteer Spotlight: Get to know Jim Covey

Paper rockets fill a cardboard box, each one distinct in its design. Some lack a nose cone, the pointed tip that guides a rocket through the air. Some have multiple fins. Some have no fins.

Whatever its design quirks, each rocket is an invitation for SCI volunteer Jim Covey to say, “Let’s do a science experiment!”

As Covey demonstrates his time-tested rocket design — one he spent two years perfecting — he encourages participants to question, hypothesize and most importantly, experiment.

While there’s a “Wow!” factor in building a high-flying rocket, Covey’s goal isn’t to build a dream machine every try.

“It’s not necessarily the best rocket every time,” Covey said. “It’s about the process of teaching participants along the way.”

Covey’s career as an SCI volunteer and resident rocket expert started in 2005. He quickly found a home at the rocket table, honing his building technique over the next two years.

Along the way, Covey has built lasting relationships with participants of all ages, interests and skill levels. Whether he’s engaging university astrophysics students, families or elementary school groups, Covey targets the conversation with the “why” in mind.

“Which rocket will fly farther?” he’ll ask, inspiring participants to test their inventions and own the experience. And though he’s already honed his own design, Covey returns to When Things Get Moving every Tuesday with his box of rockets and a curious attitude.

“The joy of the participants as they watch a rocket fly… That’s a reward for me,” Covey said. “Those are the things that keep me coming back.”