AFIT officials hope STEM gains steam


By Scott Halasz - shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com



Scott Halasz | Greene County News Acey Faulkner, an eighth grader at Bellbrook Middle School, and Jackson Reed, a seventh grader at Xenia Legacy Christian, participate in a hands-on experiment with lasers. They were among may Dayton area students to visit the Air Force Institute of Technology Monday to learn about STEM fields.

Scott Halasz | Greene County News Acey Faulkner, an eighth grader at Bellbrook Middle School, and Jackson Reed, a seventh grader at Xenia Legacy Christian, participate in a hands-on experiment with lasers. They were among may Dayton area students to visit the Air Force Institute of Technology Monday to learn about STEM fields.


Rachel Secody (left) and Kate Bowers, eighth graders at Bellbrook Middle School, draw plans for a straw rocket. The students were tasked with designing, flying, and then refining their rocket.


An Air Force Institute of Technology faculty member tries to get a drone to fly during a demonstration for students.


A group of students from Legacy Christian and Bellbrook Middle schools learn about lasers. Students were told by the instructors that the word laser originated as an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The Air Force Institute of Technology celebrated current engineers and at the same time tried to entice a new generation to consider a STEM discipline.

To kick off Engineers Week on base Monday, approximately 200 students from Dayton area schools — including Bellbrook Middle and Legacy Christian — visited AFIT to learn more about what goes on inside the Air Force’s graduate school and try a few things out themselves. The hands-on event featured demonstrations on digital holography, robots and artificial intelligence, high-altitude balloons, building straw rockets, fire science, learning the difference between power and energy on an energy bike, and electricity and magnets.

The annual event is seen by AFIT officials as paramount to the future of STEM.

“We need to have more people that get interested in it,” said Col. Adam Reiman, associate dean, AFIT Graduate School of Engineering and Management. “That’s our primary focus. Get the energy, get the enthusiasm up. Hopefully some of these people will become the next great engineers in the future. Some people don’t know their certain strengths could be applied in the STEM field. Hopefully get them focused on a career toward that going forward.”

The hand-on projects gave students a chance to see and do, not just hear.

“You can talk to someone all day,” said Tristan Naranjo, an AFIT student who helped organize the student visit. “(If they see it), it’s more exciting.”

Bellbrook eighth grader Samantha Goodwin — part of Bellbrook’s Energy Bike team which teachers younger students about energy — chose to participate to help improve her abilities.

“I came here to learn more about energy so we can teach better,” she said. “It helped when we learned about the electric fields. I’m pretty sure I’m going to go into a doctoral field that involves the sciences.”

Legacy seventh grader Jackson Reed was interested in learning more about mechanical engineering but found other things interesting as well.

“I liked the battery and magnets,” he said. “That was pretty cool.”

Students also took tours of AFIT laboratories including additive manufacturing (3D printing), wind tunnels, space and environmental labs, and the Autonomy and Navigation Technology (ANT) Center.

“We didn’t know what we were coming to,” said Bellbrook eighth grader Rachel Secody. “(But) we’re learning a lot of cool things.”

Engineers Week, part of a nation-wide effort to celebrate and promote engineering, is sponsored by DiscoverE, a coalition of academic, industry, and professional organizations. Universities nation-wide host Engineers Week activities.

Scott Halasz | Greene County News Acey Faulkner, an eighth grader at Bellbrook Middle School, and Jackson Reed, a seventh grader at Xenia Legacy Christian, participate in a hands-on experiment with lasers. They were among may Dayton area students to visit the Air Force Institute of Technology Monday to learn about STEM fields.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/04/web1_DSC_6642.jpgScott Halasz | Greene County News Acey Faulkner, an eighth grader at Bellbrook Middle School, and Jackson Reed, a seventh grader at Xenia Legacy Christian, participate in a hands-on experiment with lasers. They were among may Dayton area students to visit the Air Force Institute of Technology Monday to learn about STEM fields.

Rachel Secody (left) and Kate Bowers, eighth graders at Bellbrook Middle School, draw plans for a straw rocket. The students were tasked with designing, flying, and then refining their rocket.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/04/web1_DSC_6652.jpgRachel Secody (left) and Kate Bowers, eighth graders at Bellbrook Middle School, draw plans for a straw rocket. The students were tasked with designing, flying, and then refining their rocket.

An Air Force Institute of Technology faculty member tries to get a drone to fly during a demonstration for students.
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/04/web1_DSC_6635.jpgAn Air Force Institute of Technology faculty member tries to get a drone to fly during a demonstration for students.

A group of students from Legacy Christian and Bellbrook Middle schools learn about lasers. Students were told by the instructors that the word laser originated as an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”
https://www.xeniagazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/32/2019/04/web1_DSC_6637.jpgA group of students from Legacy Christian and Bellbrook Middle schools learn about lasers. Students were told by the instructors that the word laser originated as an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”

By Scott Halasz

shalasz@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.