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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.

wpe1.jpg (6491 bytes)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 nation’s most valuable resource…our children and their future.       

* See specific Project Stories for a description of these, and other, outreach programs.


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