WPAFB EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH OFFICE OVERVIEW
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Wright Research Site (WRS) K-12 Educational Outreach Office (previously known as the Wright Laboratory Educational Outreach Office) was formed September 1995. It was created to provide support for the AFRL WRS K-12 Educational Advisory Council and to administer and assist with the implementation of all AFRL WRS K-12 Educational Outreach Programs. To date, the specific duties of the Educational Outreach Office include facilitating the execution of the Wright Connection* teacher/mentor program, providing support for SEMEDS*, MMETS*, and all other existing Educational Outreach Programs, and developing new Educational Outreach Programs as requested or as needs are identified. In January 1998, WTN assumed the contract for the Office, and late in 1998, a partnership between WRS and the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) was formed to expand the scope of the office into a base-wide WPAFB K-12 Educational Outreach Office.
During the first six months of 1999, the expanded WPAFB Educational Outreach Office
underwent tremendous physical renovation. The
office was equipped with all the necessities to be autonomous in the execution of its many
programs. A teacher interest survey was sent
to over 700 Miami Valley educators and the information it provides now serves as the
foundation for a database that can be used for program development. It also allowed for creation of an email teacher
distribution list that sped up communication capabilities while reducing postage costs of
mass mailings. A formalized support structure consisting of a base Educational Outreach
Executive Board and a Working Group were formed. The final six months of 1999 were
dedicated to identification of other base outreach programs, formalizing program
documentation and operations, ordering program materials, development of an Internet
web-site, development of an in-house Wright Connection* program for teachers, and creating
a volunteer database. In September, a full-time curriculum specialist was added to the
staff to rejuvenate the Wizards Of Wright! (W.O.W!)* Program. And, after five years of preparation, Tech
Trek - Mobile Research Laboratory*, was officially launched through a partnership among
WTN, WPAFB and the Alliance for Education.
There are currently 8 active programs involving over 200 active and many more on-call volunteers from nearly every WPAFB organization. This results in over 200 teachers and over 5000 students being introduced to the WPAFB, its research personnel and facilities. This, in turn, has an impact on over 10,000 Miami Valley citizens. The positive impact and visibility of these educational programs demonstrate the overall commitment of WPAFB to the local community and, in turn, are vital to insure continued support of WPAFB as part of that community.
The WPAFB K-12 educational outreach programs
allow school children and their teachers to interact with world class scientists and
engineers in state-of-the-art research facilities. Our
goal is to motivate students to appreciate science and technology and to help teachers
create and maintain a technologically literate society.
Participating students may subsequently be influenced to consider a career
in a technologically oriented field. This
benefits the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, the Air Force Materiel
Command, and the Air Force as a whole by providing competent researchers for the new
millennium. Communities, teachers, and schools reap the benefits through increased student
motivation. The Directors of the five AFRL
WRS technical Directorates have historically shown their support for, and belief in, the
importance of outreach activities by providing funding and emphasis for educational
outreach activities. The expansion of the
concept into a base-wide activity illustrates the strong commitment of WPAFB leaders to
continue community partnerships in support of our nations most valuable
our children and their future.
* See specific Project Stories for a description of these, and other, outreach programs.
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