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Introduction to FAA STEM Aviation and Space Education

October 2017


The FAA science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Aviation & Space Education (AVSED) program was created in 1961 as a means to encourage and inspire future generations to become part of the aviation and aerospace community, and to encourage all FAA employees to support the program in any way they can. The program has been an integral part of the agency’s outreach to the general public and our education system for decades. The program was formally established by former President Gerald Ford under Public Law 94-353, the Airport and Airway Development Act. The Airport and Airway Development Act authorizes FAA employees to:

  • Support the nation’s education goals.
  • Acquaint students with aviation and aerospace careers.
  • Promote the critical skills and competencies required in accomplishing the agency’s mission.
  • Enhance the agency’s image as a responsive federal partner.

STEM AVSED vision statement

To prepare and inspire the next generation of skilled professionals for the aviation and aerospace communities using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based programs, and to educate the public about the FAA’s mission of focusing on NextGen technologies and systems to ensure that we provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world.

Our history

The start of STEM AVSED dates back to 1961, when President John F. Kennedy directed the FAA to study civil aviation, prompting the creation of AVED. Around this time, Dr. Mervin K. Strickler Jr. joined the FAA as its aviation education specialist and was nicknamed the “Father of Aerospace Education” for his tireless work in promoting aviation education. In the 1970s, Public Law 94-353 mandated the FAA aviation education program. Today, with the support of our employees and program partners, STEM AVSED continues to reach students and educators to promote aviation education.

Why STEM matters

To maintain our country’s global leadership in aviation, as well as in other disciplines, today’s students must advance their skills in STEM fields. It is essential to the employment of future generations and it is the key to a strong economic future. That’s why the FAA is committed to education outreach through its STEM AVSED program. With support from employees and program partners, the FAA can help prepare and inspire the next generation of skilled professionals for the aviation and aerospace communities.

STEM AVSED programs

STEM AVSED supports and implements a large number of programs. A program is an FAA STEM AVSED-approved activity. There is a broad spectrum of programs, from partner-sponsored national programs, such as Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy and the Real World Design Challenge, to smaller-scale local programs such as career days, science fairs, and educator workshops. For additional information, please see www.FAA.gov/education.

What’s next?

We want to help your chapter harness and utilize these resources! Next month, we will begin to explore some of our many programs in more detail.

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