MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Airmen from the 42nd Operational Support Squadron partnered with a local elementary school to provide the students an inside look at STEM careers within the Air Force, Feb. 5, 2019.
Approximately 50 Thelma S. Morris Elementary School students, from grades three through five, visited the base with their teachers in order to learn more about what happens within the gates of Maxwell.
To kick-start the day, the elementary students were able to meet several Airmen with varied backgrounds and hear their reasons for joining the military.
After the short meet and greet, the teachers and students of T.S. Morris got to see the Air Force in action. They were escorted up into the Air Traffic Control Tower, toured a C–130 Hercules and learned the mathematical basis for how an airplane stays in flight.
“Obviously airpower is a very prominent aspect of the world; and the way technology is going and the way things are progressing, these kids need to have a better scope on the way things work,” said Senior Airman Austin Neafus, 42nd OSS air traffic controller. “We’re not here to teach them the inner workings of an internal combustion engine or anything crazy like that, but just to peak their curiosity.”
Last month, Air University hosted a K–12 Education Summit with the hopes of creating ties with schools in the community to enhance the educational opportunities for the students in the River Region; The event hosted by the 42nd OSS was a step closer to meeting that objective.
The event strengthened an already present partnership between the school and the base and exhibited the importance of STEM in the real world to the young students.
“There are so many times that students think that they’re only going to use math inside of a classroom, but today they learned that math, science and technology are used outside of the classroom and then how to apply it to many different fields,” said Jacqueline Jackson, T.S. Morris Elementary School math resource teacher.
Jackson said that the base community has provided so many opportunities for their students that she now sees the Airmen of Maxwell as partners in their education plans; and before the field trip none of the kids raised their hands when asked if they want to join the Air Force, but afterwards all of them raised their hands.