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Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter lands Aviation Education Grant for “StellarXplorers” program

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY – Fifty organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants totaling over $365,000 at the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s (OAC) August meeting. Grants are for targeted learning programs that have a direct application to aerospace and aviation for primary through post-secondary education. The grant funds are part of the agency’s initiative to give more Oklahoma young people access to STEM careers in the aerospace and aviation industry.

The Commission approved an education grant for the Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter 215 for the program “StellarXplorers.” The program is a national space design competition for teams in grades 9th -12th created to foster STEM learning, team building, and expose participants to STEM career opportunities. It was estimated that 80 students would participate and the commission granted the organization $4,200.

“As a former educator I realize the significant impact the funding of grants can make towards reaching our goals of producing quality engineers in our aerospace programs. I am so proud of the Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter #215, which is located in Senate District 42, and their grant amount of $4,200. We are thankful for their diligence as we pursue excellence together,” said Oklahoma State Sen. Brenda Stanley, District 42.

The Aerospace and Aviation Education Grant Program has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years. Charged with the mission by state statute, the Commission fosters and encourages students to consider aerospace or aviation as a career. The Commission’s grant program has years of positive results. The initiative supports the Oklahoma Works project that aims to address the skills gap and connect students to programs that will help build the workforce of Oklahoma’s second-largest industry.

“Good job! This is great for our community. Not only does it prepare our young people for rewarding careers, it also attracts investment from the industries that need those professionals,” said Rep. Max Wolfley, House District 95.

The OAC’s nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. For the 2021-22 school year, Oklahoma will rank #3 in the country in the number of schools teaching the AOPA curriculum. Since FY2001, the Commission has awarded $4.15 million in aerospace and aviation education grants.

“We are extremely thankful for the opportunity the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has afforded us by awarding us an aerospace grant to help expose more young people to StellarXplorers training,” said Jeffrey James, Vice President, Aerospace Education, Air Force Association, Gerrity Chapter 215.

This national Air Force STEM initiative demonstrates the critical and elevated role that space system engineering holds in the field of aerospace and defense and is designed to build necessary skills in science, technology, engineering, and math and to ensure that students are aware that those skills can lead to high demand careers in the field of aerospace.

“We have worked with the Air Force Association Gerrity Chapter on several projects and we are so proud of the Purple Ducks from Francis Tuttle Technology Center, the second place winners of the seventh season of StellarXplorers, the National High School Space Challenge,” said Paula Kedy, MA. Ed., Aerospace and Aviation Education Coordinator for the commission.

Watch the full meeting at

Last Modified on Apr 13, 2023