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STEAM Challenge encourages innovation

  • Published
  • Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs
Local high school students participated in a STEAM challenge held at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia, on Nov. 7.

The challenge, sponsored by the Air Force Reserve Command in conjunction with the Society of American Military Engineers and the Museum of Aviation, allowed students to work with 12 different mentors from the base to build and launch a paper rocket, design a mission patch, solve a planet identification problem and write a response message to one received from a planet outside the Milky Way Galaxy.

“One of the greatest powers is challenging the students to bring their raw talents and watching them innovate and achieve greatness,” said Col. James P. Hickman, AFRC Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection associate director.

Mentors volunteer from the full total force spectrum. There were representatives from AFRC, the Air Logistics Center and the 78th Air Base Wing guided the students in groups through the four tasks that were occurring simultaneously. Groups were awarded for best patch design, most accurate rocket, first to solve the communication problem and best message.

“I really enjoyed working with the students and watching them grow, even in that short amount of time,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Kissire, requirements integration manager in the AFRC Strategic Plans Programs and Requirements Directorate and mentor for the event. “When they first sat down most of them were timid and afraid to speak up and by the end of the challenge they’d were so confident and excited with what they had created.”

The 37 students came from seven schools in Macon and Bibb County and included two homeschooled students.

Science, technology, engineering, art and math are all important skills in the Air Force Reserve and Airmen who are able to grow and innovate in those areas are vital to the nation’s protection and security.

“I hope this opened your eyes to the opportunities out there both in the Air Force and in the world within the STEAM realm,” said Marv Fisher, 99th president of the Society of American Military engineers.

This event was the second and is intended to be held again next year and on an annual basis.

For information on joining the Air Force Reserve call 800-257-1212 or visit