By Cameron Hunt
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The 21st Space Wing hosted an outreach program geared toward youth.The outreach program is called Peterson STEM Day, which was created as a way to spark a young person’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
The goal was to open the possibilities of a career based in one of these disciplines and to teach youth how STEM is part of the Air Force culture.
“The Air Force is founded in the STEM skillsets,” said Col. Timothy Ryan, Mission Support Group commander. “Our goal today was not necessarily to recruit the students into service, but to give them a peek inside how the STEM skillsets apply in the Air Force.”
The event was held at Patriot Park, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, May 9, 2018, and catered to about 250 students and teachers from four local middle schools in Harrison School District 2: Fox Meadow Middle School, Mountain Vista Charter School, Panorama Middle School and Carmel Middle School.
“The most important thing that I want to stress here is there are a lot of different career fields out there that utilize STEM disciplines,” said Ryan. “You don’t have to be super smart to do them, you just have to be dedicated to that particular field of study. If you can do that, you can be successful and the world can be your oyster.”
Display booths were set up at Patriot Park, where kids could view and interact with displays while learning about different career fields based on STEM disciplines within the Air Force.
Cadets from the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol had a booth at STEM Day. Cadets study leadership, aerospace, fitness and character development. CAP cadets can also earn college scholarships in science and aeronautics.
At their booth, the cadets demonstrated skills in toy rocket assembly, and how a hydraulic actuation system works. Cadets also worked with students in an experiment to simulate the effects of aerospace dynamics in aviation.
The 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit presented two types of remote controlled disposal robots and their capabilities. Tech. Sgt. Kyle Massengale, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron, explosive ordnance disposal unit, stressed how essential technology is a critial element to the success of their jobs and how robots take the risks that humans no longer have to.
“We use the robots to look at packages; sometimes to even tear them open or to just tear the package apart,” said Massengale. “Since we don’t physically need to be near the robot, there’s no physical danger to personnel. We can operate the robot remotely from up to a mile away,”
Among the presentations and displays at the park, the middle school students were able to exchange ideas and pose questions to mentors from STEM career fields. After, they were given a tour of the Peterson Air and Space Museum.
While there, students learned about vintage aircraft and space technology. They were also able to see how past technology differs from the technology of today.