Why not be a rocket scientist?

Graduate student Anan Takroori enjoys teaching kids about science and technology. Photo by B.A. Rupert.

Graduate student Anan Takroori enjoys building planes, rockets and satellites. Photo by B.A. Rupert.

Anan Takroori appears in a video about S&T’s summer camps:

Seven years ago, Anan Takroori left his home in Palestine with his eyes set on earning an aerospace engineering degree. He landed at St. Louis Community College for a few years before transferring to Missouri S&T in 2010.

“I chose Missouri S&T because I wanted to have an aerospace engineering degree from one of the most respected universities in the United States,” Takroori says. “I wanted to get a chance to participate in undergraduate research and join some design teams, which I did. On the top of that, the university offered me many scholarships and gave me a chance to work on campus to support myself while doing what I love most, which is building planes, rockets and satellites.”

A past officer of the Advanced Aero Vehicle Group, president of the Muslim Student Association and subsystem lead for the Satellite Team, Takroori encourages students to enjoy every part of their day during their college life.

“Try to participate in student activities, research projects, and join clubs and design teams,” he says.

Takroori, now a graduate student in mechanical engineering, earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2012. During the summer, you’ll find him working as a counselor in a number of S&T camps including Aerospace Camp and Robotics Camp.

“It’s one of the best jobs a person can have,” says Takroori, who is known by many campers simply as “Mr. Awesome.”

His interest in teaching kids about science and technology led him to organize several outreach events with the S&T Satellite Team, including “So You Want to be a Rocket Scientist,” “Flight Simulation for Kids” and “My First Rocket.”

As a junior, Takroori began studying thermal stratification in HVAC systems. The research was part of an Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences project, which earned him first and second place during his junior and senior years, respectively. Now, using wind tunnel tests, Takroori is examining how flow baffles affect the mixing effectiveness of two air streams with different temperatures.

“This project will help eliminate many problems that occur inside HVAC systems,” Takroori says. “The findings of this research will also help save energy and increase the efficiency of HVAC systems while improving the air quality inside buildings, automobiles and aircraft.”

In addition to becoming part of the advanced aeronautical and space technologies field, Takroori says he looks forward to building more efficient electronic and mechanical systems that will help to “ensure a safer, brighter and greener life for future generations around the world.”

During his free time, Takroori volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and participates in community projects, including helping coach the Rolla Lady Knights Soccer Team alongside his aerospace engineering professor, Hank Pernicka.

“But my favorite is usually spending time with my niece and nephews in St. Louis,” he says. “I usually visit my brother, Firas, and his wife, Rana, who are the reason for my success. And I spend hours with their little kids building and shooting model rockets in the park while teaching them about rocket science,” Takroori says.

His new goal? To be a part of the manned mission to Mars, either as an engineer designing the spacecraft or by actually traveling during the mission.

“When I get back, I want to work on improving the quality of education around the world,” Takroori says. “I want to give a chance to other people from developing countries to contribute their ideas, participate and take advantage of the advanced technology of this century.”

By Mindy Limback


  1. Ashok Midha says

    Anan is a credit to S&T and an inspiration to all engineering students, pursuing his academic aspirations along with philanthropic and extracurricular activities with diligence and perseverance. May he realize all his dreams, short- and long-term.

  2. Hesham Refayee says

    He is an excellent example for many to follow. Wish him all the best of luck

  3. Stephen A. Raper says

    Anan was instrumental in the success of Jackling/Summer Engineering Camps the last two years. His enthusiasm, wit, and personality were a delight to observe. He represents S&T well and is an outstanding young man.

  4. Michael Bouchard says

    He certainly will be missed!

  5. Tyrone Davidson says

    Anan, has worked as a mentor for our student success program over the past 3 years. He is a passionate young man and the students love him. He is a tremendous asset to Missouri S&T. Keep up the good work Mr. Awesome!!

  6. Farag Muhammed says

    Anan is a smart student. I worked with him in many projects. He is a leader and inspiring guy.
    I wish him the best!

  7. Anan volunteered for Habitat For Humanity for years. He is an amazing inspiration for this generation and a great example of success. He always put others’ needs ahead of his own and still managed to get great degrees from an amazing university. Thank you S&T for taking care of such a great person. People like him will lead the world to a better future one day. We wish you the best of luck “Mr. Awesome”. Don’t forget about us when you graduate and move on.

  8. Cathi Barth says

    I believe Anan will be a part of the manned mission to Mars! His determination is unfaltering! My son has taken part in the programs which Anan helped organize through the Satellite Team and I have had the pleasure of working with him at DCE. He is and ever will be our “Mr. Awesome” and we wish him all the best.

  9. Lisa Strauser says

    Intelligence, compassion, enthusiasm, adaptability, responsibility, and of course, charisma….these are just a few of the characteristics Anan posesses and shares freely, as he gives back to both the university and the community. In any role Anan engages, he is truly a rock star! Thanks so much for being a part of the events I was fortunate enough to work with you together in Anan, and may your future take you to Mars and beyond!

  10. Abdalla A. Bani says

    One can’t ask for a better lab partner, and best friend. Anan is the man

  11. I’ve known Anan since we were studying in the secondary school together in Palestine in 2004. I am very proud of you my friend, you show to the world that Palestinians are smart enough to have their freedom. Keep on bro..:)

  12. Basheer Khader says

    This is amazing. Only yesterday you left Bethlehem and now Missouri S&T made you an awesome rocket scientist. Everyone is proud of you Mr. Awesome.

  13. Tariq Basher says

    I know this man personally and he is really a smart guy and he always has a goal to seek. i wish him the best of the best.

  14. Joyce Sampson says

    I shared this with my son, so he could be inspired. May you have much sucess in following your dreams.

  15. Ellen Williams says

    Joyce, I also showed this to my daughter who is obsessed with outer space. She asked ” Maybe I can go with Anan to Mars?”. I will share this with my high school students. I am sure many of them will be interested in attending some of S&T’s summer camps and meet that Mr. Awesome guy.

  16. Ibrahim dwain says

    The international students at Missouri S&T truly work hard for their success and they seem to care so much about the well being of others. I am sure many kids in the States and over seas will also be inspired by this.

  17. YAAY! I know this guy. He was my summer camp counsler and he showed us how to build and shoot rockets. It was super cool. Can’t wait to become a rocket scientest too. Best of luck mr awesome.

  18. Jill Bodenhamer says

    Anan is an inspiration to everyone who has met him. I know that no matter what path he follows, he will continue to inspire everyone he meets.