Students gathered Sept. 16 in the Hill Air Force Base library computer lab for the first of a 10-week STEM Outreach Program series: Fly to Learn.
In this class, instructors from the 309th Software Maintenace Group teach students basic concepts of flight and engineering. The group meets Tuesdays (running through Nov. 18), from 3:30-4:30 p.m., in the Gerrity Memorial Library. According to Deborah Roach, the Hill AFB STEM Outreach Coordinator, “At the beginning of week seven, students will take what they learned and design their own aircraft using the software X-Plane. They will then be able to test and fly their aircraft on the flight simulator program and see how successful they were.”
This 10-week course targets students in grades 7-9 with the particular hope that the activities will be fun for students and encourage them to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education and careers. Allowing children to learn about STEM subjects, and work on hands-on projects, allows them to succeed, fail, experiment, and explore — giving them the chance to “make informative decisions about their future STEM careers,” Roach said.
STEM Outreach programs have been extremely well received at Hill — leading to excitement and encouragement for the program coordinators, instructors, volunteers, and helpers.
“The Hill AFB STEM Outreach Program, along with the Gerrity Memorial Library, and the 309th SMXG are hosting this event because we want to get Team Hill children excited and engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Roach. “Our program has done a lot of STEM Outreach in the community, which sometimes targets our Team Hill children, but this time we really wanted to focus on our Hill AFB community and have something special just for them. We saw a void of these kind of programs so we decided to offer this to our community and see if this would get a response. We were right. It got more than just a response. We got an overwhelming response. In just a few days, this event was filled and we now have a waiting list that is just as long as the number of students we are able to accommodate.”
Roach has high praise for those involved with making STEM programs possible: “A big shout out to all the people who help support these kind of events — Gerrity Memorial Library, 309th SMXG, Hilltop Times, 75th Air Base Wing, 75th Force Support Squadron, Engineering & Technical Management workforce and all of our volunteers. We couldn’t do this without them. The STEM Outreach Program is always looking for volunteers to help us with our events. We have FIRST Robotics, Underwater Robotics, Fly to Learn, Science Fairs, Physics Day, and Expand Your Horizon, to name just a few.”
Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the program, can contact Deborah Roach at Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-777-4177. You may also contact JD McBride at Jon.McBride.email@example.com or 801-586-7491. For more information about the Fly to Learn Program, visit www.flytolearn.com.