In some ways, Alex Spartz hasn’t changed at all from his childhood days as a Lego aircraft enthusiast. As a teen, he took an engineering class in middle school, joined the Civil Air Patrol in high school and immersed himself in calculus and physics courses — ultimately deciding he wanted to be an aerospace engineer.
It was also in his teen years that Spartz’s life changed in a way he never expected. During the second week of a family vacation, he dived into a breaking wave, underestimating how shallow the wave was and breaking his neck.
Spartz headed back to school after completing rehab, determined to finish his senior year with his friends and go to college. He enrolled in the College of Engineering as an honors student in 2015, going on to join AME.
His hard work is paying off — he’s now been getting around in a manual chair for more than a year. He’s active in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics club and serves on the advisory board for the Office of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. He’s considering applying for his UA master’s degree in aerospace engineering, and hopes to work for a company like Boeing, NASA, Lockheed Martin or Honeywell.