Innovation District Serves as Springboard for STEM Careers
Vol.8 Issue 7
Over a 3-day timeframe, nearly 1,000 students from Oklahoma City Public Schools participated in Innovation Week.
The 3-day Innovation Week had over one-thousand 7th and 8th graders visiting each of the STEM booths.
Volunteers from across the Aeronautical Center participated in Innovation Week.

Nearly 1,000 middle school students descended upon the Innovation District in September to participate in a variety of STEM-focused activities. This was the Innovation’s inaugural week of hosting such an event. The purpose of the event was to spark students’ interest in STEM-related fields and expose them to an assortment of career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Over twenty organizations and businesses from around the Oklahoma City area participated in this event, with the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center having the largest presence - complete with several flight simulators, air traffic control computer exercises, interactive green screen technology with video production, aviation toxicology and science-related selfie booths. Several of the Center’s major organizations were in attendance, the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, the FAA Academy, and the Enterprise Services Center.

Volunteers from across the Aeronautical Center participated in Innovation Week.
The Enterprise Services Center’s Media Solutions Team provided a green screen opportunity for the students. Here the students experiment with the view of flying through an asteroid field using special visual effects.
CAMI created a selfie station complete with a life-vest and life raft, educating students about the importance of open water survival.

Students from Oklahoma City, Millwood, Mid-Del Public Schools, and more participated and they had several hours to visit booths, interact with professionals and get some hands-on experience to better understand the types of careers that are available in aviation.

Students were given a cardboard passport and asked to obtain stamps from each of the booths they visited. For some of the students, this was their first exposure to the aviation industry and what it encompasses. As expressed by Dr. Katrina Avers, Branch Manager in Flight Deck Human Factors Research in the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, "It was amazing to see these kids light up when they found something they were really interested in, or having them try an activity in which they excelled. It was surprising how you can already see natural aptitude for piloting at that age in the simulators. This is a great way to connect with our future workforce, and reaching out as one aviation community to make a lifelong difference in these kids’ lives and our industry."

Ted Mofle, a CAMI Human Factors Researcher, shows a student about the operations of one of several flight simulators available during Innovation Week.
Dr. Melchor Antuñano, talks with students about some of the scientific occupations that exist at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute.
Thanks to the FAA Academy and the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, students were able to experience the different types of air traffic control – TRACON, Enroute and Tower.
Todd Poole from the FAA Academy assists students with an air traffic control PRACTICE exercise.

The students loved all the interaction, so much so that it was difficult to pull them away from the simulators when their time was up. The conference was complete with DJ and music, and local food trucks.

News report from KWTV - News9

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