The Commission approved an education contract for KISS Robotics' Botball and Junior Botball Challenge Robotics program. The programs were created specifically to attract students of all ages to STEM fields and to get them actively involved, engaged, and excited about solving real world problems. Workshops and tournaments will occur from August 1, 2018 through May 10, 2019. The program will serve approximately 3,500 students in grades K-12. The majority of the contract will provide funding of scholarships for Botball team registrations. Scholarship priority is given to inner city and rural schools, and schools serving underserved populations. Mentors are utilized from the University of Oklahoma’s Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering Department, as well as from aerospace companies and the FAA, Sooner Flight Academy and Tinker Air Force Base. The requested amount was $10,500.00 and the grant amount was $10,500.00.
The program, which has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years, is part of the OAC mission to encourage and promote aviation throughout the state of Oklahoma. Director of Aeronautics Vic Bird said aerospace supports 240,000 jobs with an average salary of $73,300 annually. “Last year, after a two-year study, we learned that the Aviation and Aerospace sector in Oklahoma supports $43.7 billion in annual statewide economic activity. A competent workforce, which includes our desperate need for aerospace engineers, will be needed to sustain this industry,” said Bird.
The nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. OAC has provided nearly $1.9 million in education funding within the last 10 years alone.
“OAC is proud to assist KISS Robotics for a tenth consecutive year as a grant recipient of our aviation education grant program, and we look forward to seeing the progress they achieve with their students,” said Catherine Taber, aviation program manager and aviation education coordinator for the Commission.