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FAA STEM AVSED Programs for Young Eagles

By Danny Miller, EAA 647062, EAA Chapter 186 President

November 2017 - Last month I provided an overview of the FAA Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Aviation and Space Education (AVSED) program. STEM AVSED supports and implements a large number of approved program activities. FAA’s STEM AVSED programs offer countless ways for children and young adults to explore the exciting worlds of aviation and aerospace. With the support of numerous partners in the public and private sectors, we reach out to students around the world so they can learn more about civil and commercial aviation as well as the critical role that STEM plays in a young aviator’s future.

From nationally recognized programs to smaller regional and local programs, STEM AVSED outreach takes on all shapes and sizes: job shadowing, career days, science fairs, field trips, workshops, and more. There is a broad spectrum of programs, from partner-sponsored national programs (such as the Aviation Career Education Academy, Real World Design Challenge, and Youth Aviation Adventure) to smaller-scale local programs (such as career days, science fairs, and educator workshops). This month, I want to provide additional information on these three national programs and let you know how EAA chapters can take advantage of them. Specifically, these are some great opportunities that your Young Eagles can take advantage of, so that they continue to stay engaged.

Aviation Career Education Academy

The Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy was developed to excite and motivate middle and high school students to explore careers in the aviation fields. Events planned each year include tours, lectures, and hands-on opportunities designed to highlight the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math as they relate to aviation. Participants also learn more about the key role air transportation plays in improving the economic and social life of all Americans. The FAA partners with various affiliates for this program, which is geared toward grades 5-12. Events run between June and September of each year. ACE academies reach 1,500 to 2,000 students each summer, exposing them to the following activities:

  • Lessons in flight planning, aviation history, and the physics of flight
  • Field trips to aviation-related sites
  • Instruction on aircraft design and maintenance
  • Flight simulations and, in some locations, flights in aircraft

Dates, locations, cost, and age requirements vary according to sponsoring organizations. ACE Academies are cosponsored by the FAA and a variety of host organizations. Our young men and women are our most valuable resources, and we are committed to continuing this exciting outreach program focused on creating the next generation of aerospace professionals. Find an ACE Academy in your area here or contact James Brough, national STEM AVSED Program manager, at 202-725-5175 or james.brough@faa.gov to get involved.

Real World Design Challenge

Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition for high school students in grades 9-12. It gives participants an opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, RWDC student teams are asked to address a challenge that confronts our nation’s leading industries. Students use professional engineering software to develop their solutions and create a presentation that convincingly demonstrates the value of their proposals. FAA partners with RWDC affiliates for this program, with events running from October through May of each year. Teams of three to seven students must have a coach, and registration is required. Visit the RWDC website for more information and to access the registration sign-up sheet.

Youth Aviation Adventure

Youth Aviation Adventure (YAA) is a fast-paced, single-day event, held at an airport near you, for students age 12 to 18. At a YAA program, students will visit 10 different stations to learn about various facets of aviation. Find a YAA event on the YAA website here or contact the organization at 614-212-3147.

These are just three of the many available FAA STEM AVSED programs. To explore the different programs, go the FAA STEM AVSED website for additional information.

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