AFMC Command News

RSO, UDRI partner for local school 'STEAM' event

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mikaley Kline, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Approximately 70 Oakview Elementary School students descended upon the Rapid Sustainment Office (RSO) for the day to take part in a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) event in Beavercreek, Ohio, on May 6, 2024.

The University of Dayton Research Institute’s (UDRI) Sustainment Technologies Transition Division along with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s (AFLCMC) RSO partnered with Kettering City Schools to put together a hands-on activity of assembling and testing a small wind turbine.

“Today was about getting the elementary school students engaged in hands on STEM and STEAM,” said Brian Stitt, UDRI Sustainment Technologies Transition Division department head. “We find that a lot of them don’t have the ability to have those conversations with family at home and we’re able to have that here with them and get them engaged into STEAM related things. We get them into hands-on problem solving and how to come up with ideas and bring them to life.”

Stitt believes that these types of engagements are about developing the workforce of tomorrow.

“As we look at the students and workforce we have today, we have to encourage the team members of tomorrow to go into some of these STEAM related careers; whether it be math, science, physics, medicine or whatever else it may be,” he said. “That goes in collaboration with training our workforce of today and getting them engaged and understanding of the different technologies.”

For Stitt, it’s about providing the children with a fun environment for them to learn and go through the iteration process of solving a problem.

“I just want them to remember what they saw here and the energy and excitement they had,” he said. “That when they enter middle school and other grades, I want them to remember back and think ‘I do like math’ and ‘I do like science.’ It’s not that hard and I can do it.”

For the next phase in the process the students will break into small teams and design concepts.

“They’re going to go through the same design iteration process,” Stitt said. “Then they’ll have to narrow it down to six different designs and be able to communicate that to our engineering team. Then we can design it, print their small turbine designs and take them to the school to test them out.”

For third grade student Cam, the aspect of the day he enjoyed most was the teamwork.

“I had a lot of fun,” Cam said. “I really liked the teamwork and how we all had to work together.”

Valerie Gobeil, Dayton Regional STEM school advance manufacturing lab manager, observed the event to see about possible future partnerships.

“The interaction between students and industry partners, like UDRI and U.S. Air Force, can have a lifelong impact by opening their minds to various career pathways within the STEM fields,” she said. “This also helps break barriers surrounding STEAM learning and careers.”