Another STEM initiative should be Emulated by American Aviation Educators and Professional

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ARTICLE: Sally Ride Online Academy Now Open to All Educators
Professional Development Expands Beyond Select Districts; Training Helps Teachers Ignite Student Interest In STEM Fields And CareersSally Ride Science

One of the reasons why the First Flight occurred in the US as opposed to other countries is that the Wright Brothers detected that some of Otto Lilienthal’s calculations of wings and the resulting lift ratio were erroneous. Although the brothers were not highly educated, their analysis based on a wind tunnel test caused them to redesign their wing. Perhaps their most critical innovation was the control of flight in yaw mode, but it is clear that their application of scientific and engineering principles is why aviation is deemed to be an American invention.

That advantage is at risk: our education of students in the critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines is not among the world’s leading school populations. The announcement of the increased availability of an online tool to help teachers give their pupils the best in learning is excellent news.

Sally Ride Science Academy, supported by ExxonMobil, has created teaching modules which help attract students, especially young women and minorities who otherwise might be discouraged from taking STEM subjects. The Academy CEO Sheryle Bolton stated, “We know, based on feedback from teachers, that these strategies and ready-to-use classroom resources can inspire students to learn more about important science and math concepts. Our goal is to have younger students actually picturing themselves as successful professionals in some of the fastest-growing fields in our economy.”

The interesting aspect of this program is the correlation between the academy’s namesake and its learning approach. Ms. Ride earned her undergraduate, masters and PHD degrees in physics. That role model has attracted many young students to the STEM subjects. The Academy’s materials include case studies of professionals who followed the Ride approach to their successful career paths.

Examples of how to attract future scientists, engineers and other professionals are critical to the growth and stimulation of our business. Other success stories are promoted here. AIA, GAMA, CBS, Women in Aviation and others all are to be commended for their efforts in this important initiative.

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