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AFMC commander helps kick off school’s STEM program, visits AFJROTC unit

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

The commander of Air Force Materiel Command visited a California high school Oct. 7, 2016, to help launch a STEM program initiative and to visit the school’s Air Force Junior ROTC unit.

AFMC Commander Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski visited San Pedro High School in Los Angeles to take part in the school’s kickoff celebration, announcing a Department of Defense grant of $923,557 to launch the National Math and Science Initiative’s College Readiness Program. The program focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes.

Pawlikowski delivered the event’s keynote speech, emphasizing to students the importance of math and science classes. She also shared how her education in STEM has influenced her own career.

“This kind of outreach by the DoD, Air Force, and partnering foundations like the Northrop Grumman Foundation to high schools supporting STEM initiatives is certainly making positive impacts toward not only inspiring students toward STEM careers, but it’s also helping to create opportunity for students and cadets who may otherwise not have it,” said Col. Bobby Woods, director of Headquarters AFJROTC at Maxwell.         

Given AFJROTC’s size and scope (more than 120,000 high school cadets) and because STEM is already an important component of what is taught in AFJROTC, the recent partnership between AFJROTC and the Air Force K-12 STEM Program “hopes to inspire even more of our youth toward these exciting career opportunities and service to the United States,” he said. 

STEM concepts are taught in the AFJROTC classroom and practiced in popular and critical co-curricular activities. STEM tools like classroom flight simulators, model rockets, and remote controlled aircraft have been used for years to enrich the learning opportunities and provide immersive learning and experiential learning tools that reinforce what is taught in the classroom, said the colonel.

 

“The AFJROTC program has a 58-percent minority and 38-percent female enrollment,” said Woods. “With this kind of diversity, AFJROTC is a ‘fertile field’ that is inspiring talented students toward critical STEM career fields.”