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    Posted November 12, 2012 by
    Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee

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    AEDC’s STEM Center opens for young engineers and scientists

    ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. – Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s (AEDC) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Center coordinator, Jere Matty and volunteers officially opened the complex’s hands-on STEM Center Oct. 27 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

    Volunteers have given their time to make sure the center’s doors would open this fall.

    “I’m thrilled and proud of all the work from Col. Heather Buono’s civil engineering team, graphics and our small army of volunteers who put it all together,” Matty said.

    The center has provided activities to several schools before the ribbon cutting.

    Two student groups have used the Fox’s Den, named after the STEM center’s mascot, a fox who runs around Arnold Village.

    The center is designed to provide an exciting and interactive learning environment for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, while developing student interest in STEM careers.

    Schools may request a date to visit the center and hands-on activities are matched with a school’s curriculum. Hands-on activities may also be conducted at the school.

    In order to accommodate a school’s request, AEDC scientists, engineers and other professional volunteers are available to assist.

    “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of this program,” Matty said. “For example, Bruce Buono, a retired Air Force colonel and currently a substitute teacher, not only helps coach a Lego League team, but set up the software on our flight simulator.

    “Richard Kirkpatrick (an AEDC engineer) and his wife, Sarah, put together the entire Green City Challenge for our Lego MindStorms demonstration in the Fox’s Den.

    In addition, Harry Clark, an AEDC DOD employee, volunteered his time and trailer to deliver seven very large Lego League tables to each of our sponsored teams and the STEM Center.”

    Matty said they currently sponsor and lend supplies to six FIRST Lego League teams, two Jr. Lego League Teams and a Cyber Patriot Team.

    The Lego League program is a partnership between FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and the Lego Group who created a program that helps young people discover the fun in science and technology while building a robot.

    The Cyber Patriot program is a national high school cyber defense competition created to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity.

    Attendees at the ribbon cutting were able to see the STEM center’s flight simulator due to the work of two AEDC volunteers.

    “Thanks to Chris Davis and Marcus Golden who put together the hardware, we’re improving its (flight simulator) capability even now,” Matty said.

    To reach more students in the local community, the STEM center can loan ARIES demonstration kits to teachers. The kits are designed to teach students about motion and forces.

    Through the STEM Center, AEDC employees and local teachers were able to learn how to use the kits.

    “Each kit contains a teacher’s manual and enough manuals and materials for 30 students to complete an extensive array of hands-on dynamics demonstrations,” explained Matty. “We spent a day at the Challenger STEM Center in Chattanooga learning how to use this kit and we now have them checked out to four different schools.”

    For more information on scheduling a visit to AEDC’s STEM Center or to schedule a STEM visit from AEDC to an organization, please go to www.arnold.af.mil/stem.

    Caption for Photo #121027-F-GV828-002: Col. Raymond Toth (third from left), AEDC commander, cuts the ribbon to officially open the AEDC STEM center Oct 27. Attendees were able to see the hands-on demonstrations the center offers. (Photo by Jackie Cowan)

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