As the saying goes, ‘it only takes a spark to start a fire’. Yesterday, Melissa and I drove to the most northeast corner of Colorado with the hopes of starting many fires. Don’t worry – we were not pyros looking to start prairie fires but rather we were on a mission to spark students’ interests in pursuing aerospace and STEM careers!
We participated in Dream Big Revere – a day for 360 students from 12 rural school districts to experience Aerospace and STEM careers firsthand. The event was organized by Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and Sedgwick County Economic Development Corp. Participating organizations included NASA, Boeing, Air Force Academy, U.S. Army, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, Ball Aerospace, 100 Year Starship, Space Foundation, National Guard, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, University of Colorado, and Couragion. The event ran like a well-oiled machine - and the kids were amazingly engaged, respectful, and thankful.
Students were able to fly in an airplane, operate drones, tour helicopters, farm equipment and military vehicles, work with design software and 3D printers, participate in space mission simulations, and perform STEM experiments.
In our session, students got an understanding of what it is like to be a geneticist, a horticultural scientist, and a senior aviation planner. They viewed videos of role models, performed a genetics test to see if they had the PTC Gene, conducted pH testing to select the best water solution for hydroponics lettuce, and analyzed locations for a new runway at an airport in Alaska. They concluded with reflecting on how each career met their own personal interests, values, and desired work characteristics. It was clear that every student learned something new about potential STEM careers and their own job preferences. And we heard several students say - ‘I never even knew this type of career existed and it is actually one that I would love to pursue’!
Getting such reactions was exactly what all of the participating organizations set out to do - to inspire students to dream big about their futures and to spark the ‘fire in their bellies’ to go after aerospace and STEM careers! What a great honor it was to be part of #dreambigrevere!