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Schriever AFB hosts STEM day event for local students

Members of the 50th Operations Support Squadron brief middle schoolers during the science, technology, engineering and mathematics day event Nov. 14, 2019, at the fitness center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. During their brief, they taught the students how radio frequencies can be used to control satellites and send communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Members of the 50th Operations Support Squadron brief middle schoolers during the STEM-day event, Nov. 14, 2019, at the fitness center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. During the briefing, students learned how radio frequencies can be used to control satellites and send communications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Amanda Lovelace)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) --

More than 60 middle school students from James Irwin Charter Academy, Colorado Springs, attended a STEM--science, technology, engineering and mathematics--event hosted by the 50th Space Wing Nov. 14 at the Schriever Air Force Base fitness center.

“It’s really exciting to get to share what we do here,” said Jan Devitt, 50th SW community support coordinator. “Not a lot of people know about it.”

The event included six different booths showcasing basic orbital mechanics, Newton’s laws, Kepler’s laws, virtual reality and radio frequencies and how they can be used to control satellites and send communications and more.

Col. Jack Fischer, 50th SW vice commander, briefed the students about STEM and shared some of his experiences as an astronaut.

“(Kids) are our future,” he said. “If we don’t inspire them to get into STEM and tackle those hard problems, we’re going to lose. STEM subjects are usually tough in school, so we have to show them how cool it can be, what amazing things they can accomplish if they focus on that. And we’re uniquely suited to show them that because we do so many awesome things.”

Airmen from the 50th Operations Support Squadron, 21st Medical Squadron, 2nd Space Operations Squadron, 50th Space Communications Squadron and 50th Security Forces Squadron all came together to show off some of the STEM aspects used here to accomplish the mission.

“It’s amazing what our folks do every day, and it’s because they got into STEM,” Fischer said. “We’re trying to light that spark of inspiration early in (kids’) lives so they can contribute and take the baton when we retire.”

All of the booths featured ways children could interact with different objects and technology, enabling them to get a tactile, hands-on understanding of some of the basic concepts used every day here.

“Anything that exposes kids to new ideas broadens their minds and gives them the opportunity to see so many new things they can be involved in,” Devitt said.

Events like this can inspire youth to get involved with something critical to the nation's advancement.

“STEM is important, it’s how we progress and evolve as a species,” Fischer said. “It’s how we tackle the hard problems, and if we don’t inspire the next generation to take our place and tackle even harder problems, we’re never going to get any better.”

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