Oklahoma State University takes flight with education grants from the Aeronautics Commission

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 commission approved a $4,470 education grant for Oklahoma State University’s Middle School Youth in Aviation Careers Camp, which exposes 5th-9th graders to aviation-focused careers over the course of four half-day sessions. Sessions include aviation management and security, aerospace engineering including UAS, space exploration, aviation maintenance, piloting, and air traffic control.  

The commission also approved a $7,000 education grant for Oklahoma State University’s “aviateOK” smart phone app. The OSU Department of Aviation and Space Education is developing an aviation/aerospace STEM smartphone free app that students and teachers can use to learn and explore the aviation and aerospace field.  

The commission approved a third grant in the amount of $15,750 for Oklahoma State University’s “Speedfest” program. Speedfest is an exciting, high-speed aircraft design, build, fly competition intended to foster enthusiasm for aviation and STEM. There are two flight competition classes. Alpha Class is the advanced class which is for collegiate-level teams. India Class is the Invitational class which consists of high school teams, and teams of K-12 teachers formed from across the state of Oklahoma.  

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.

“These are critical investments to help students from middle school through college learn more about the great opportunities awaiting them in the aerospace and aviation industry,” said Sen. Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater. “Giving students this exposure can help us address the need for a well-educated workforce, and create a brighter future for our entire state.”
 

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.

“Oklahoma State University has taken steps to make a real difference in the lives of its students. We know that these programs are providing students with valuable insight into the potential for a future aviation and aerospace career, 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.