TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Air Force Civil Engineer Center, or AFCEC, has been working with Gulf County and Bay County school districts to advance science, technology, engineering and math programs and equipment for their students.
Through educational partnership agreements, or EPA, with each district, AFCEC identified areas of need within each district and provided the necessary assistance. An EPA is a technology transfer agreement between a defense laboratory and an educational institution for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing study in scientific disciplines at all levels of education.
“The Air Force STEM program is an investment in our kids and their development into productive citizens and possible future Air Force assets,” said Dr. Joseph Wander, who leads the AFCEC STEM program. “It’s a good bet to place.”
The staff of AFCEC comprises engineers working in a variety of areas including emergency management, training, pavement analysis, fire protection, explosive ordnance disposal, aircraft arresting systems, computer automation, and energy management. AFCEC has interacted with local communities through demonstrations led by the explosive ordnance disposal team. The demonstrations feature robots used by EOD teams to assess, disarm or detonate unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices.
Work under the EPAs has been very broad, ranging from internships for local high school students to helping design elementary school laboratories by selecting the appropriate equipment.
“The educational partnership that we have with AFCEC has allowed us to provide STEM opportunities for our students and teachers that would not have been possible without a partnership,” said Katie McCurdy, the Bay District School District STEM Administrator. “AFCEC has been instrumental in providing necessary resources that provide our teachers with quality STEM professional development, STEM materials, and a STEM lab just to name a few.”
Recently, AFCEC used STEM-designated funds from the Department of Defense to sponsor FIRST LEGO League teams from the schools. With the help of adult coaches, these teams select and research a real-world problem to which they are challenged to develop a solution. They must design, build, and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology, then compete on a table-top playing field.
Under the agreements, AFCEC personnel have supported other STEM events such as science fairs and MathCounts by serving as judges, proctors, and graders. The agreements have also provided a formal vehicle for AFCEC to provide the schools with several computers, a 3-D printer, and five research microscopes.
To learn more about EPAs and other technology transfer agreements, please contact the Air Force Technology Transfer Program office at (937) 904-9830 or email@example.com.