By Airman 1st Class Amanda Lovelace | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Schriever science, technology, engineering and mathematics program aims to inspire and educate the local youth by providing events with hands-on learning activities that have a specific focus in educational subjects that could lead to an interest in space operations.
Each year, Ruth Moore organizes a large STEM event for local youth, as well as smaller events. At this year’s main event, Moore plans to have different stations children can visit and participate in activities, and to have a science presentation from a local expert. Due to COVID-19, the event is postponed and might have to occur virtually.
Schriever’s mission heavily incorporates STEM so Airmen here have an increased opportunity to use their expertise and experience to inspire future generations to follow in their footsteps.
“Our goal is to utilize Schriever personnel’s knowledge and experience, and incorporate that expertise to grow the STEM program and spark military-connected students’ imagination,” said Ruth Moore, 50th Force Support Squadron Child and Youth Education Services school liaison.
Last year, the event featured several booths where children participated in hands-on learning activities in basic orbital mechanics, Newton’s laws, Kepler’s laws, virtual reality and more.
“STEM empowers individuals with the skills to succeed and adapt to this increasingly complex, changing, technological world,” Moore said. “STEM is intended to lead to innovation necessary to sustain our economy. This innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas.”
Over the last decade, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported STEM positions increased by 17%, while other occupations grew at 9.8%.
Between 2018 and 2028, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates STEM jobs will continue to grow by nearly 9%, while other occupations are only predicted to grow by 5%.
According to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, economic projections point to a need for one million more STEM professionals than the U.S. will produce at the current rate over the next decade.
“STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives,” Moore said. “STEM activities provide hands-on and [intellectually stimulating] lessons for the student, making STEM both fun and interesting. Additionally, it helps the student do much more than just learn; STEM activities build children’s critical thinking skills and sense of curiosity.”
Moore said STEM skills relate subject-specific skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to generic skills and dispositions. During her time as the school liaison, she’s seen STEM related impacts in students:
• Inquiry Skills
• Critical analysis
• Teamwork and collaboration
• Digital literacy
• Problem solving
Recently, Schriever’s STEM program began transitioning to include art, soon to be known STEAM.
“This is the trend nationwide,” Moore said. “Art is about discovering and creating ingenious ways of problem solving, integrating principles and presenting information.”
Additionally, the Air Force Public Affairs office is planning a STEM education program aimed to target 3rd through 8th graders. As part of this new program, an education outreach plan on air and space topics is being developed to target youth via digital learning.
Topics would range from all career fields and be taught at a level appropriate to the target audience. Schriever is planning to utilize the space topics to engage students, specifically “How GPS Works and Threats” and “Different Disciplines of Intelligence.”
“It will broaden the impact through STEM education and will improve schools and communities,” Moore said. “Increasing access within our school systems and homes opens doors for all learners. More importantly, this creates opportunities where they previously did not exist.”
Through these changes, the Schriever STEM program will continue to provide the local youth with STEM events, hands-on learning activities and new opportunities.