ARLINGTON, Va. — The Air Force hosted a STEM outreach event to lead into the screening of Disney’s “Captain Marvel” at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum March 7, in Washington, D.C.
STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, careers are projected to be the fastest growing sector in the coming years and this event aimed to inspire young adults to consider the Air Force or STEM-related vocations while increasing understanding of the military.
Hundreds of young girls and boys alongside their families flooded the public event.
“All of us have been inspired by moments in history and films that we’ve seen in our lives to be something, and do something — to stand up,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “I’m hoping this event reaches young people about who they can become and particularly I’m glad to see so many young girls here.”
Multiple Air Force organizations including Air Force Research Lab, Air University, AFWERX and Air Force Recruiting Service, created hands-on activities, interactive displays, engagement tables and provided a flight simulator all within reach.
“(Here) we celebrate ideas that defy, we tell the story of the people that defy preconceptions, of innovation that defied the odds, and of air and space craft that literally defy gravity,” said Chris Browne, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum deputy director.
The event not only built upon the Air Force’s legacy of cooperation with Marvel, but also offered a chance for Disney, the Smithsonian, Air Force leadership and congressional attendees to celebrate the great strides women have made within the military branch.
“(In 1982) there were about 150 women flying aircraft in the United States Air Force and not one was a fighter pilot — the law kept that from happening,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “How far we’ve come. Today we have about 850 female pilots in our Air Force, 80 who are fighter pilots and we’re growing every day.”
Following the hands-on STEM event, Airmen and their families were invited to watch a special screening of Disney’s “Captain Marvel” in the Lockheed IMAX Theater within the museum.
“I hope this film will inspire all of us, and especially young women, to see themselves in us, because we need you,” Goldfein said.