JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
As part of the return of the Air Power Over Hampton Roads Air Show, Joint Base Langley-Eustis hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics field trip on May 5, 2023.
This event, which was the first of its kind held in conjunction with an air show at JBLE, was open to K-12 students from public, private, parochial, and home schools, as well as Junior ROTC programs.
“One of the most exciting events of the air show was the STEM event,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Gregory Beaulieu, 633d Air Base Wing installation commander. “We have such an organic STEM platform right here on Langley, so we wanted to take advantage of the air show momentum and use our installation to help inspire future generations. You never know what field trip, or in this case, a base visit, might be the impetus needed to excite students and generate more interest in STEM education, and, maybe, someday pursue those STEM careers in our Air Force.”
An estimated 1,800 students from 33 public and private schools, as well as 130 students from 54 home schools, were in attendance. The students were able to get a firsthand look at different career fields related to STEM.
“Hosting STEM events like this allow students access to real-world STEM in community businesses, organizations and within the military,” said Terrilyn Williams, JBLE school liaison program manager and STEM event organizer. “The exhibitors provided students exposure, engagement, connection, and inspiration to relevant real-world STEM.”
The day-long affair featured hands-on exhibits from 35 organizations, both military and civilian, which included the 633d Medical Group, 633d Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Virginia Air and Space Science Center, and Eastern Virginia Medical School. NASA utilized an entire hangar to showcase their technology.
The students were also able to tour the static displays and watch the air show practice. Teachers and Junior ROTC instructors found that the event aligned with their classroom curriculum.
“We are teaching aviation history and the aircraft and exhibits were perfect,” said U.S. Air Force Col.(ret.) Brian Kelly, Hampton High School Junior ROTC instructor. “The exhibits in the hangars were outstanding and the variety was excellent.”
The STEM area remained open throughout the weekend, allowing an additional 2,500 participants to experience the exhibitions. It was the first time in five years that JBLE hosted APoHR. The next air show is slated for 2025.