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Student pilot on wing of airplane during flight camp

OSU aviation and space program receives education grants for STEM projects

Friday, August 27, 2021

Media Contact: Rachel Eng | Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-8320 |

The Oklahoma State University aviation and space program is launching two science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects specifically designed for Oklahoma youth thanks to grant funding from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC).

OSU will host the Youth in Aviation Careers Camp in summer 2022 to introduce elementary and middle school students to aviation-focused careers over the course of four half-day sessions. Session topics will include aviation management and security, aerospace engineering and unmanned aircraft systems, space exploration, aviation maintenance, piloting and air traffic control.

Dr. Matt Vance, associate professor of aviation and space, is leading the project, which received a $4,470 OAC education grant.

“Students will be exposed to the language of aviation, career field opportunities and industry partners,” Vance said. “They will also gain hands-on experience with aviation tools, methods and equipment in hopes they recognize the diverse career opportunities that aviation offers, beyond the highly visible career field of a commercial airline pilot. Opening young minds to new opportunities is an extremely valuable investment.”

Additionally, OSU is developing a smart phone application called aviateOK. This free downloadable app will provide aviation and aerospace-related activities and resources for Oklahoma students grades K-12 through video-based and interactive content, gamification and microlearning.

Leading the effort is Dr. Timm Bliss, professor of aviation and space, who received $7,000 in OAC funding to support the project.

“The aviateOK app will be designed and developed to provide early exposure to STEM and to encourage Oklahoma students of all ages to learn and explore more in the aviation/aerospace field,” Bliss said.

The grant funds are part of OAC’s initiative to give more Oklahoma young people access to STEM careers in the aerospace and aviation industry.

“These are critical investments to help students from middle school through college learn more about the great opportunities awaiting them in the aerospace and aviation industry,” said Sen. Tom Dugger, a Republican from Stillwater. “Giving students this exposure can help us address the need for a well-educated workforce, and create a brighter future for our entire state.”

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