Keesler instructors partner with Biloxi for STEM summer camp
By Sarah Loicano, 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 28, 2019
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Keesler technical training instructors worked hand in hand with Biloxi School District teachers to participate in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy for more than 200 students June 24-27.
The Department of Defense Education Activity-funded summer program was designed to teach young students about the possibilities of careers in the STEM fields while working on problem solving, creativity and collaboration skills. Several Keesler instructors volunteered to participate in the program.
“STEM fields are the future of our civilization. That’s not to marginalize other areas of study. I just feel that STEM fields have an amazing capacity to shape the future of every person on our planet. Whether you dream of being the first person to set foot on a new planet, or are hoping to see the cure for cancer, it all starts with STEM,” said volunteer Master Sgt. Dell-Ray Sackett, 338th Training Squadron Radio Frequency Transmissions assistant flight chief.
The STEM Academy was open to all Biloxi public school students in first through seventh grade and featured three days of interactive activities, culminating in a trip to the Infinity Science Center at Stennis Space Center. Keesler instructors taught weather forecasting, jet propulsion laboratory stomp rocket experiments and built wooden airplanes.
“I think when students think of some of the areas of STEM, they think hard work. Things like math and engineering always seemed like something that was unpleasant. I hope that after the STEM Academy the students can see that while some parts of STEM can be very tough, they can also be amazingly fun and rewarding,” said Sackett.
This marks the third year in a row the Biloxi public school system hosted a STEM summer program. Previously it has been held on Keesler and across several Biloxi school campuses. According to Biloxi High School Instructional coach and STEM specialist Neketia Holloway, having everyone co-located at the high school has made this year’s program the easiest while providing more STEM value to students.
“This year we are seeing the benefit of the location in that more teachers are incorporating technology into their lessons,” she said, adding that the camp provides students an opportunity to continue their education during the summer break.