OKLAHOMA CITY – Fifty organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants totaling over $365,000 at the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s (OAC) August meeting. Grants are for targeted learning programs that have a direct application to aerospace and aviation for primary through post-secondary education. The grant funds are part of the agency’s initiative to give more Oklahoma young people access to STEM careers in the aerospace and aviation industry.
The Aerospace and Aviation Education Grant Program has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years. Charged with the mission by state statute, the Commission fosters and encourages students to consider aerospace or aviation as a career. The Commission’s grant program has years of positive results. The initiative supports the Oklahoma Works project that aims to address the skills gap and connect students to programs that will help build the workforce of Oklahoma’s second-largest industry.
“STEM educational programs are such an important factor for our students and our state. To grow and diversify our economy, we need more kids going into aerospace and aviation careers and supporting STEM programming for students will help achieve those goals. I’m very proud of the grant recipients for their work in encouraging students to explore STEM, and I applaud the Aeronautics Commission for their support of our students and our schools via this terrific grant program.” Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
“I’m very excited to see so many of these aerospace and aviation education grants being awarded to schools and programs in the Oklahoma City metro. Inspiring students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math means they’ll be able to enter some of the best-paying careers,” said Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City. “We also know that women have historically been under-represented in STEM, so I truly appreciate the effort the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has made to award grants to organizations that can help bridge this gap.”
The OAC’s nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. For the 2021-22 school year, Oklahoma will rank #3 in the country in the number of schools teaching the AOPA curriculum. Since FY2001, the Commission has awarded $4.15 million in aerospace and aviation education grants.
“Having attended a robotics competition and seeing it first-hand, I’m pleased to see these grants given to the Oklahoma Science and Engineering Foundation will be used to help our students learn more about robotics. I look forward to seeing the impact these programs make in the lives of our students,” said Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County was granted $3,000 for the “Pathways – Flying Into Aviation & Aerospace Careers” program. This program exposes 6th-12th grade students to aviation and aerospace career opportunities and drone activities.
- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics competitions in Oklahoma City and Tulsa were granted $7,500 for their program where more than 2,000 students in grades 7-12 compete in the event. Students use STEM principles to design and build robots to deal with outer space activities following this year’s theme of “Star Wars: Force for Change”. Various Oklahoma aerospace companies as well as Tinker Air Force Base mentor FIRST Robotics teams.
- Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma received a grant for $2,000 for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma “Up, Up & Away” summer program, which introduces girls to aviation vocabulary, design & mechanics of gliders, and basic engineering skills through hands-on activities, including using balloons, parachutes, kites, drones, and airplanes to explore the science of flight.
- KISS Institute for Practical Robotics Botball and Junior Botball Challenge was granted $10,500 for a program focused on information technology and autonomous systems (ground and aerial), where participants build and program robots as members of a team. The program serves 3,500 students in grades K-12.
- Metro Technology Center’s 2022 Aviation Career Exploration (ACE) Camp was granted $12,500 for their ACE camp for 7th and 8th-grade students. Using a STEM curriculum, students gain an understanding of the history of aviation and aerospace, learn to identify various parts of an airplane, and are provided an orientation flight to experience the principles of flight first-hand.
- OKBEST Robotics was granted $2,000 to provide a 6-week robot-building contest at no cost to schools. Student teams from grades 6-12 report to Rose State College to receive their kit and solve complex problems with limited resources.
- Oklahoma CareerTech Foundation was granted $10,000 for the Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnership which connects education to the industry to create a better educated and motivated workforce. Over 300 Oklahoma 5th-12th grade STEM teachers, counselors, and administrators attend industry tours and educational workshops.
- Oklahoma Engineering Foundation’s STEM program, MATHCOUNTS, was awarded $5,000 for mathematical education to middle schools statewide; the Engineering Fair, which exposes students to plan, build, create, innovate, and engineer hands-on projects provide teacher workshops and other programming.
- Oklahoma Science and Engineering Foundation, FIRST LEGO League were awarded $5,000 for 3rd – 9th-grade students to explore subject areas to develop innovative solutions to include gravity, materials science, control systems, thermodynamics, propulsion, and navigation which are all topics studied by aerospace engineers.
- Oklahoma Science and Engineering Foundation, First Tech Challenge was granted $2,000 for 7rd – 12th-grade students to build robots from a variety of materials to complete multiple repetitive tasks through both autonomous and manual control. This process will expose students to skills in structural design, mechanical design, geometry, motion, time management, programming, and math.
- Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Foundation received a grant for $1,500 for the school’s Summer Math & Science Workshop expansion. The program already includes four one-day math workshops and three one-day science workshops focusing on STEM careers in the aviation/aerospace industries in Oklahoma. The expansion will include an additional eight one-day workshops, and 160 middle-school students will now be able to participate.
- Putnam City High School Air Force JRPOTC Honors Aviation program was granted $8,000 for high school students grades 11-12 to develop their understanding of careers in aviation-related fields through curriculum-based, hands-on experiences including local partnerships with Air Force Civil Air Patrol, EAA Young Eagles, AOPA, and local Air Force bases. The program also prepares students for FAA written exams.
- Southeast High School Air Force JROTC was granted $2,900 for a program to expose students in 9-12 grades to the science of flight through hands-on projects and tools using drones in preparation for the FAA written exam for drone operators. It is estimated that 80 students will participate.
- Redeemed Flying Corps was granted $7,500 to train pilots and provide supplemental airframe & powerplant (A & P) training to students (secondary and post-secondary).
- Rose State College was granted $4,000 the college’s “A-XP Discovery Camps.” Rose State will host two, four-day rocket camps for 6th-9th graders. Rocketry camps include learning about the history of flight, laws of motion, principles of flight, Newton’s Law, Bernoulli’s Principle, classroom learning, and lab experiences, and will also expose students to career opportunities.
- The 99s Museum of Women Pilots was granted $6,000 for The 99s Museum of Women Pilots “Fueling Future Aviators” program. Students in 4th – 12th grades will learn basic aviation principles using a flight simulator and workshops focused on aviation and aerospace topics such as the birth of aviation, aerodynamics, weather, engine mechanics, the role women play in aviation, and the connection between aviation and aerospace with careers.
“Oklahoma City area educators and organizations are making a real difference in the lives of students. We know that these aviation and aerospace-minded professionals are providing valuable insight into the potential for a future aviation and aerospace career for people of all ages, and we wish them great success with their programs,” said Paula Kedy, MA. Ed., Aerospace and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.
Watch the full meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfvqUmcWmrY&t=15s.