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STEM outreach flyover gets kids excited for Aerospace Valley Air Show

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Christine Del Aguila
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

In preparation for the 2022 Aerospace Valley Air Show, Open House and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Expo, the 412 TW Operations Group hosted a STEM outreach flyover for 50 surrounding schools on Oct 12.

The flyover included a C-17, F-35, T-38, and NASA F-18 that flew over a route spanning 250 miles, 14 different communities and reached over 40,000 students.

“As a local, I'm passionate about reaching out to our community. The early exposure I got to engineering in middle school and high school still influences my career today,” said Jessica (Ulvin) Peterson, a Quartz Hill Elementary, Joe Walker Middle School and Quartz Hill High School Alumni.

Jessica Peterson, the 412th Operations Group Technical Director and civilian flight test engineer who facilitated the flyover, engaged with over 6 local schools prior to the flyover with a STEM presentation.

“Leading up to the event I reached out to schools to provide in-person presentations on Flight Test and Engineering. The goal was to connect students to the airplanes and aircrew they saw at the STEM outreach flyover and airshow,” said Peterson.

The flyover route reached the California communities of Edwards, Boron, Helendale, Victorville, Hesperia, El Mirage, Lake Los Angeles, Palmdale, Quartz Hill, Lancaster, Rosamond, Tehachapi, Mojave and California City with dedicated points at schools ranging from kindergarten to college.

This was the first time an Air Force base conducted a flyover of this purpose and scope.

“In order to ‘Break Tomorrow's Barriers Today’, the theme of the AV Airshow, we need the next generation of scientists, engineers, pilots, and manufacturers excited and ready to take on the challenge. My intent was to encourage STEM education and awareness of STEM careers,” said Peterson.

Peterson worked with the EAFB public affairs to create recorded content on the base website that featured an interactive STEM toolkit for students to view prior to the flyover.

“I wanted to be able to speak at all 50 plus schools, but since that wasn’t feasible we created a page and recorded content to reach all the schools participating in the STEM outreach flyover,” said Peterson.

The website features videos of several of the men and women of the EAFB Test mission, to teach students how they use STEM in their careers and how they ended up in the Aerospace Valley.

The website also includes videos aimed at elementary, middle, and high school levels explaining flight test engineering, STEM opportunities, Automatic Collision Avoidance Technology flight test, and the 75th anniversary of Supersonic Flight with Edwards AFB's unique role in the breaking of the sound barrier in 1945.

The website Peterson created for the STEM School outreach can be found at

"I'm so deeply humbled by the inspirational investment I witnessed by all the key players and volunteers that made the last 6 days happen; an investment that clearly resonated with kids ages 3 to 13, for they are the STEM future of our Nation,” said Brig. Gen. Matthew Higer, Commander, 412th Test Wing.

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.