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Maxwell AFB hosts groundbreaking STEM day

  • Published
  • By 42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In conjunction with the 2024 Beyond the Horizon Air and Space Show, Maxwell AFB showcased its inaugural Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Day event on April 5, 2024, drawing over 3,000 enthusiastic students from across Alabama.

This first-of-its-kind event, focused on inspiring the next generation of emerging STEM innovators while highlighting the importance of STEM-related opportunities to kids of all ages. Organized in collaboration with the 42nd Air Base Wing school liaison program manager office, 58 local and regional Alabama schools and educational institutions, and over 30 STEM-related exhibitors, the event showcased a myriad of interactive exhibits, hands-on workshops and technology demonstrations.

From robotics and coding to aerospace engineering and augmented reality, this event catered to a diverse array of interests, ensuring there was something for everyone. Students were given the opportunity to engage directly with STEM professionals, gaining insights into real-world applications and exposing them to career pathways into these dynamic fields.

"STEM Day at Maxwell AFB was not just about sparking interest in science and technology, it’s about empowering our youth to aim high and reach for the stars,” remarked Lt. Col. Kim Hoffman, STEM Day project leader. “Events like these are instrumental in shaping the future of our nation by nurturing the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers.”

One of the highlights of the day was the semi-autonomous “robotic dog” provided by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, where students were able to experience unmanned technical advancements while experience first-hand how this type of technology is being used to support the Department of Defense. Another one, was a portable planetarium which guided students through the wonders of the universe, giving attendees the chance to peer deep into the cosmos while discussing the next steps in space exploration.  

In addition to the hands-on activities and displays, students had the opportunity to engage with experts in various STEM disciplines, learn about STEM use in both military and civilian capacities and how STEM can improve the quality of life of students in the classroom by increasing access to education and resources. Topics ranged from the virtual and augmented reality to renewable energy, sparking curiosity and inspiring new avenues of thoughts and behavior among the students.

The impact of Maxwell AFB's STEM event extended beyond inspiring individual students. It also served as a catalyst for military-civilian collaboration and partnership focused on reinforcing STEM programs in the community. Several installation organizations, like Air University’s Innovation Accelerator, showed their support by sponsoring exhibits and volunteering their time to share their expertise with the aspiring next-generation innovators.

"The turnout for our inaugural STEM Day was beyond our expectations," added Hoffman. "It was truly amazing to see the enthusiasm and curiosity displayed by these young minds.”