Promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics

  • Published
  • By Jere Matty
As fall approaches, so does the new school year with multiple opportunities to inspire the AEDC workforce of tomorrow with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities. Last school year was particularly busy to include:

· The grand opening of our new STEM Center (the Fox's Den) where we've hosted more than two dozen student groups to date with the help of AEDC's Dr. Stan Powell and many others.

· The opening of our STEM Lending Library where we "checked out":

o Straw Rocket launchers to more than a dozen schools and youth organizations.
o ARIES Forces and Motions Kits from the STEM Challenger Center to more than 10 local schools.

o Laptop computers to support the local high school CyberPatriot Team.

o Lego Education WeDo Robotics Construction Kits.

o One of two flow visualization wind tunnels to an Advanced Placement Calculus class to help Dr. Greg Power illustrate Computational Fluid Dynamics.

· The large STEM Center wind tunnel was configured by AEDC volunteers Chris Davis and Marcus Golden so that it now operates wirelessly from an iPad and displays the data in real time on the flat screen for the kids to see.

· Chris and Marcus were also instrumental in setting up the flight simulator in the Fox's Den where the kids can fly everything from a glider to an SR71.

· The portable Discovery Dome (combination planetarium and spherical theater) was taken to over 20 schools and events involving over 4,500 students.

· Partnered with Harry Clark and the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers to double the number of MathCounts teams from the previous year from three to six.

· Worked with ATA to sponsor the Franklin County High School shop class and provided mentorship from AEDC machinists Ronnie Long and Bob Williams for their entry in the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race.

· Bruce Buono led our first STEM Aviation Class where 19 students learned engineering and math while designing an aircraft with state-of-the-art flight simulation software and actually flew with the Eagleville Glider Club.

· Michael Glennon and Cameron Liner mentored the Coffee County High School JAFROTC CyberPatriot Team who placed first in the state.

· Lance Baxter helped mentor several of our five Team America Rocket Challenge teams. The all-girls team from Lebanon placed first in the state and were selected to compete at the national championships.

· Mark Andrews, Austin Voorhes, Jim Masters , Melissa Wenger, Bruce Buono and Lt. Ben Hoff, to name a few, came together to coach our two Junior Lego League and five Lego League teams who won multiple awards at local and state competitions.

· Our FIRST Tech Challenge High School robotics team did so well that they were selected to compete at the World Championships.

· Teamed with Dr. Scott Van Zandbergen from UTSI and ATA Public Affairs (Andrea Stephens and Raquel March) to bring over 1,600 students to the STEM Center as part of the Spark, Ignite and Minds in Motion AEDC tour program.

· Held the first AEDC STEM Summer Camp, for 19 kids, led by Professor Billy Hix, the 2012 Tennessee Science Teacher of the Year.

All told, we deployed over 15 programs covering nine counties, 30 schools and supporting over 5,700 students. It was a great year that would simply not have been possible without the tremendous support from the front office of the AF and ATA and the many volunteers from Team AEDC who gave so selflessly of their time and efforts to the kids that will keep AEDC strong in the future.

This year we plan to expand virtually every program, so if you'd like to join in the fun, please contact me at 454-7086 and visit our web site at