Oklahoma Engineering Foundation FIRST LEGO League Secures Aviation Education Contract
Twenty-eight organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling over $296,697 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC). The record amount of funds will be used to expose more school-aged children in Oklahoma to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, particularly those in aerospace and aviation. The funding was approved by the Commission at their most recent meeting.
The Commission approved an education contract for the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation FIRST LEGO League. Students will explore a variety of subject areas as they develop their innovative solutions to the problems that they identify for the seasonal topic, INTO ORBIT which explores the challenges of living and working in outer space. These areas may include gravity, materials science, control systems, thermodynamics, propulsion, and navigation which are all topics studied by aerospace engineers. As they develop their robot designs, students will learn new skills in structural design, mechanical design, geometry, motion, stability, time management, programming, and math. The program will reach an estimated 1,650 students. The requested amount was $5,000.00 and the granted amount was $5,000.00.
The program, which has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years, is part of the OAC mission to encourage and promote aviation throughout the state of Oklahoma. Director of Aeronautics Vic Bird said aerospace supports 240,000 jobs with an average salary of $73,300 annually. “Last year, after a two-year study, we learned that the Aviation and Aerospace sector in Oklahoma supports $43.7 billion in annual statewide economic activity. A competent workforce, which includes our desperate need for aerospace engineers, will be needed to sustain this industry,” said Bird.
The nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. OAC has provided nearly $1.9 million in education funding within the last 10 years alone.