Air Force Makes STEM Learning Exciting for Kids

161206-F-DD155-0035 U.S. Air Force Col. Todd Hohn, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, watches as students play with learning materials, December 6, 2016, Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The STEM initiative hopes to inspire the next generation to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Jackson N. Haddon/Released).

By Yolanda R. Arrington
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Staying at the top of your game in technology requires developing sharp minds for the future. The Air Force is working toward that goal by encouraging young people to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to become the next generation of innovators for tomorrow.

A new STEM lab at the L. Mendel Rivers Elementary School on Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma aims to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.

“When we talk about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, we talk about the future of our nation, the defense of our country, our future leaders and teachers,” Air Force Col. Todd Hohn, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, told Air Force public affairs. “We are one of 30 wings that are partnering to do this throughout the Air Force. There are 200,000 students we’re helping and around 80,000 hours of volunteer time. That’s pretty impressive stuff.”

The goal of the new lab is to inspire young people to play with robots and other devices to pique their interest in science-related fields.

“The Department of Education and the DoD have teamed up to put resources in place to educate students to help them gain more interest in STEM related activities,” said Nathan Covington, 97th Air Mobility Wing STEM coordinator and school liaison officer.

Officials believe creating a space for young people to learn about STEM could make them interested in pursuing military careers someday.

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