ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Members of the Altus AFB Airmen Leadership Group hosted several science, technology, engineering, and math activities also known as STEM for a group of third through eighth-grade students from Snyder Public Schools, April 29, 2021, at Altus Air Force Base.
The Wing Innovation Advancement Center partnered with the base library to build and supply materials for the children to use during their STEM activities. The WIAC is a location where Airmen can learn new skills to upgrade or improve practices and processes to make tomorrow’s Air Force faster and smarter.
“Thinking differently than our predecessor is the essence of today’s Air Force Airman,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Royer, 97th Air Mobility WIAC superintendent. “Fostering their creative spirit and helping them solve problems is my job.”
While at the WIAC the group built catapults, cup gliders, and rocket cars. Afterward, they toured the three aircraft assigned to the wing and observed how boom operators operate in a KC-135 Stratotanker simulator. All of these activities showcased STEM in action and the practical applications it has in the military.
"The technology the Air Force uses is insane," said Konnor Carothers, an eighth-grader from Snyder Public Schools. "I enjoyed the activities we did together but seeing the planes is what I enjoyed the most. I've never been in an airplane before and had no idea they had anything like this out here. I feel lucky to have seen it.”
Some of the capabilities at the center include 3D printers, computers for 3D modeling, computer numerical control machines, and laser cutters. These tools and techniques are all here to make Mobility’s Hometown a more capable and ready force.
"Without STEM classes or opportunities," said Kaleb Knott, Snyder STEM Program Lead. "People will never know what they're capable of, or what opportunities are out there. I think it makes a tremendous impact on the decisions they make about the career fields they go into."
Many STEM events have been held in the past and featured the capabilities and responsibilities of the Airmen of the 97th AMW. Events like this allow for a better understanding of the armed forces and a special opportunity to see what happens on base.
“We appreciate the Air Force volunteering to spend time with the students,” said Knott. “Most people will never in their lifetimes get to see or touch these things. Being able to be hands-on with them is very special. They had fun, they learned a lot and I'm greatly appreciative and Snyder Public Schools is too.”