DURANT – Approximately 40 students in grades 8th through 10th will get a chance to attend an aviation camp next summer at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant free of charge, thanks in large part to a $20,000 aviation education grant from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.
The Commission recently approved the grant for Southeastern’s Office of Continuing Education, which will go toward costs associated with the University’s “Savage Storm Aviation Science Camp 2013” slated for next June. The grant will help provide flight costs, materials, meals and lodging for students who will be participating in the two, week-long camps.
“Southeastern has done a tremendous job over the years of exposing many young people, particularly in that part of the state, to the wonders of flight and careers in aviation and aerospace,” said Victor Bird, director of the Commission, who noted that the university has one of the few aviation management programs in the state. “We need more programs like that if we are to get more young people interested in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers, especially in aviation and aerospace.” Scott Hensley, director of Southeastern’s Office of Continuing Education, stated that the grant will help the university reach more young people, even those living in North Texas.
“During our last camp, we received some excellent feedback from parents who said they were very excited that their kids got to attend the camp for free. We also got some good feedback from the campers themselves, many of whom said they, too, were excited about the camp and were looking more closely at STEM areas,” Hensley said. “That was one of our main goals, to get them excited about STEM, and aviation covers so much of that.”
Since 2000, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has awarded approximately $1.6 million in aviation education grants and contracts to various camps, flight academies and other worthwhile aviation and STEM education activities across the state. During the current fiscal year, the Commission has provided more than $200,000 in education funding.