STEM programs to continue developing minds Published March 23, 2018 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.– Hand-drawn glasses, electrical circuits and towering rollercoasters filled students with joy as they learned more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics during a STEM workshop March 19 to 21 at the McConnell Library. The program provided a different activity and learning experience each day during the STEM workshop. Children brought their creations to life with the 3-D Pens and stencil to create glasses and other 3-D structures. They also learned how electrical currents and how different circuits produced noise, light and radio. Building blocks were used to teach kinetic energy and how an object moves. “It helps you use all of your brain,” said Gretchen Huber, 22nd Force Support Squadron library program coordinator. “A lot of times you’re always using your right or left side of your brain. If you’re using technical elements to get creative then you’re using both sides of your brain.” STEM programs helps develop students for future careers within predominate electrical, mathematical and engineering fields. “A lot of the technical fields are becoming predominate jobs on the horizon by [the year] 2025,” said Huber. Huber explained the Air Force has several STEM career fields and they are trying to narrow down their focus to get the younger Airmen involved with the STEM programs, which is where the lab comes in to play. “I want it to be used for the school age-program and the library,” said Tech. Sgt. Clayton Allen, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Plans and Programs NCO in-charge and innovation lead for XPX. “I personally feel like it would be outstanding for the McConnell Airmen, if they had the STEM lab, to go in and [if] they have some kind of operational problem or a project that could make their jobs better then I [would like] them to use the facility to learn how to do the process of solving the problem.” Huber said the goal was to have multiple classes for all age groups and provide a work area for Airmen, retirees and families. The work area will have a collective amount of tools and equipment that will allow them to explore and share their innovative ideas. “Let’s say we had a spouse, her husband’s at work and she’s looking for activities to do,” said Allen. “Maybe she decides that she wants to learn how to grow strawberries out of PVC pipe. I see it as a place for her to go and meet like-minded [people that can] help her make that little dream come true.” Huber and Allen hope to have STEM lab available in the near future for children, retirees, family and Airmen to utilize a living work space that allows them to develop their minds, education and better themselves and possibly their workspace.