IncuGator STEM Summer Program

2023 Program updates will be coming soon!

IncuGator is a two-week non-residential STEM summer program running from July 18 - 29 for students entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. This program seeks high-performing participants interested in hands-on learning with focus on engineering design, fabrication, and testing. The 2022 IncuGator experience involves designing, building, flying, and evaluating customized rockets with mentorship from the Swamp Launch Rocket Team ( ). Swamp Launch is UF’s award-winning student aerospace design team that builds rockets for national competitions. IncuGator participants work at the UF MERGE Lab (, nationally renowned for its innovative design-focused engineering education programs. They will work personally with UF engineering design faculty and college student mentors who provide guidance throughout the program.

Participants will experience becoming aerospace engineers by first launching kit-based rockets to learn how these vehicles function. Next, they will simulate rocket flights using the Open Rocket software package. They will combine simulations with real flight data to define individualized flight missions for their own custom rocket. Engineers from MERGE Lab sponsor AutoDesk ( will provide training in Fusion 360 Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, enabling IncoGator participant to design unique rocket parts tailored to their induvial mission goals. Participants will then assist in fabricating custom rocket parts via advanced manufacturing processes including 3D Printing and Waterjet. Finally, participants will assemble and launch their customized rockets, collecting flight data to confirm achievement of mission goals. Parents and families are invited to attend the launch event to support their IncuGator rocket scientists.

IncuGator includes tours of UF’s Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department laboratories for a close-up view of a world-leading research environment. Participants are invited to continue communicating with their college student mentors and MERGE Lab faculty after the IncuGator program’s conclusion. There is also potential for high-performing IncuGator participants to engage in ongoing applied research activities with UF MAE faculty after IncuGator’s conclusion.

Application Deadline: May 2.

Click here to Apply:

Important Information: Students must make a commitment to attend and participate in the entire program. Please confirm no other academic, school-related, sports, or family events will conflict with the program dates.

Program Cost: $1,000. Need-based scholarships are available for students attending high school in Alachua County. Enrollment includes lunch and snacks, staffing and supervision, social activities, insurance (primary or excess depending upon parent coverage), and program-themed supplies. Transportation to and from the UF campus is the responsibility of the family. All interested and qualified students are encouraged to apply regardless of ability to pay.