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Edwards STEM program helping to inspire Antelope Valley youth

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

The Edwards AFB Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program is rising to the challenge of promoting opportunities available for those interested in or already pursuing an education in one of the STEM disciplines.  

Though the Air Force has a nationwide STEM program, Edwards’ program focuses on reaching out within the Antelope Valley. There has been a concerted effort behind this task and the base organizations involved have successfully reached over 3,100 young students in the last year with information about the program. By doing this, the program has been able to make long-term connections with local schools and after-school programs. These connections can benefit many children and young adults as they make decisions for their future studies.

The largest event Edwards STEM participated in was last October’s “Salute to Youth” at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds. The annual event lets students from the community mingle with industry professionals and learn about various careers. The Edwards STEM program was awarded “Most Interactive Booth.” The booth focused on new interactive robotics. Due to the success of the booth and the event, Edwards STEM was able to make contact with 2,600 student attendees.

Edwards STEM also had the pleasure of working with a Civil Air Patrol squadron from Bakersfield, Calif. CAP leadership was able to arrange their week-long summer camp close to Edwards so that 51 cadets could take a tour of the base. They were able to see the F-22 Raptor and Global Hawk, have lunch at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, tour the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and visit the Air Force Flight Test Museum. Edwards STEM was able to donate funds to offset the cost of the summer camp for the cadets.

Edwards STEM program also attended a career day at Helendale Elementary School located in Helendale, Calif. Fifteen volunteers from Edwards, which consisted of engineers, pilots and scientists, gave presentations on the different fields that one can enter with the STEM program. This resulted in 500 students learning about the variety of studies that STEM encompasses and how the students can get involved. The base is now helping the Helendale School District transition to a STEM elementary and high school. 

Edwards STEM hosted students from the Aerospace Institute in Palmdale, California, to educate young students on the types of technological advancements that are occurring. The STEM team hosted a tour of the base for 30 students. 

Edwards STEM is a growing program that continues to seek out new ways to reach the local community. The program does not just want to educate students, but also inspire them to see that their dreams are achievable. Future events that Edwards STEM is looking forward to joining are an educational fair on base, and Antelope Valley Salute to Youth 2016 in October.

For further information on Edwards AFB’s STEM program, or to find ways to become involved, please contact program director Humberto Blanco at humberto.blanco@us.af.mil or visit www.edwards.af.mil/stem.