WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB (WPAFB) EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH
Education Outreach is a major Wright Technology Network (WTN) technology transfer area of emphasis. WTN provides direct on-site program support to the WPAFB Educational Outreach Office.
In 1998 the AFRL Educational Outreach Program transitioned to the WPAFB program under an AFRL - Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) partnership agreement. Since that time, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds and is being recognized as a unique and effective way to share Air Force resources with the local educational community.
The purpose of the WPAFB Educational Outreach Program is to facilitate partnerships with the K-12 educational community to increase student awareness and excitement in math, science, aviation and aerospace with the intent to inspire them to enter into future careers with the Air Force.
The Educational Outreach Office provides a centralized point of contact for local educators to obtain base resources. An automated database of educators who have expressed an interest in base educational outreach programs has been created that allows instantaneous communication of base programs and events. A formalized support structure, consisting of an Educational Outreach Executive Board and Working Group, was established to help guide and manage the program. WTN currently provides support in the form of three certified K-12 educators and one full-time equivalent technical support position. WTN operates and maintains TECH TREK, a mobile research laboratory, that brings Air Force technology directly to schools.
There are many programs involving volunteers from across the base and during FY 2001, the Educational Outreach Office coordinated over 11,000 in-kind volunteer hours from base affiliated personnel. The programs create exciting opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to interact with and experience a wide variety of Air Force careers and specialized skills, some of which are only available at a large military installation. Volunteers range from reading tutors in the classroom to world-class Air Force scientists and engineers who demonstrate their skills in state-of-the-art research facilities. Programs include:
Wizards of Wright (W.O.W!) - Volunteer "Wizards" take a variety of science, technical and math demonstrations to local schools.
Scanning Electron Microscope EducatorS (SEMEDS) - An after school program that gives students hands-on experience with a scanning electron microscope in a real lab setting.
TECH TREK - An extension of the popular SEMEDS program, TECH TREK takes scanning electron microscope technology directly to schools in the community.
Materials on the International Space Station Experiments (MISSE) - A multi-year program that provides on-going mentorship to students whose experiments are onboard the International Space Station.
Miami Valley Interactive Distance Learning (MVIDL) Consortium - WPAFB is a content provider and partner in MVIDL which provides distance learning opportunities throughout the Miami Valley and State of Ohio.
Miami Valley READS - WPAFB is a partner in the Miami Valley READs reading mentor program, which is part of the OhioREADS initiative.
FIRST LEGO League - Robotics is a great way to encourage critical thinking, programming, math and science skills. In 2001, the Educational Outreach office joined forces with the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League. Teacher training was provided through a grant from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to create a core interest group in the region. This quickly caught the attention of the National FIRST LEGO League organizers and resulted in the WPAFB Educational Outreach Office and WTN hosting the State of Ohio FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournament in December 2001.
Science Fair Involvement - The WPAFB Educational Outreach Office set up a formalized procedure to make it easier for schools to request base volunteers for their science fair initiatives.
Partnerships with professional educational associations such as American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Junior Achievement.
The WPAFB Educational Outreach Program benefits the AFRL, ASC, and the Air Force by encouraging students to become America's future scientists and engineers. Communities, teachers, and schools reap the benefits through increased student motivation. Historically, AFRL demonstrated support for educational outreach activities by providing program leadership and funding. The expansion of the concept into a base-wide WPAFB activity further demonstrates the strong commitment of Air Force leaders to continue community partnerships in support of our nation's most valuable resource…our children and their future.