‘Aviation Hero’ Motivates Students to Pursue STEM Careers
September 22, 2015
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  • Town of Chenango, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Many consider the future of jobs to be in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math — or STEM. Students at Chenango Forks High School were able to hear a first-hand account of how pursing a STEM career can change your life forever.


    “We want the students to understand, this is more than just a career,” Barrington Irving, an ‘Aviation Hero’ and motivational speaker, said.


    Thirteen years ago, Irving decided to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot after meeting one in person.


    In 2007, he set a record — becoming the first black and youngest pilot to fly around the world, solo.


    Now, he’s urging others to pursue a STEM career just as he did, because of what he was able to accomplish. Irving said he knows so many others can do the same.


    “If it wasn’t for someone exposing me to it or basically creating knowledge around that, I wouldn’t even be here to share my story with students,” Irving said. “To have the opportunity to know that a STEM field can not only, yes change your pockets, but also change your perspective of how to utilize science and math and real life practical manners, um, it was an eye opening experience for me.”


    U.S. Representative Richard Hanna and Irving both spoke at Chenango Forks High School on Monday.


    Hanna says there’s a need for STEM jobs not only in this area, but across the country.


    “In this district alone, we estimate there are thousands of jobs unfilled,” Richard Hanna (R) Representative of the 22nd District of New York, said. “Good jobs. Jobs with opportunities throughout their life, that are fascinating jobs that aren’t filled. We need to produce those students that can produce those products that the rest of the world wants.


    Chenango Forks School District currently has a STEAM academy, adding Art into the mix. Superintendent, Lloyd Peck, said he’s confident about their STEAM program.


    “I don’t think we could be the leader, I think we are the leader when it comes to STEAM in this area,” Peck said.


    Peck said he was excited when he first found out Irving was coming to Chenango Forks High School.


    “By having him talk to our students and making them more aware of the aviation world, which ties into the STEAM academy to peak their interest, we can have more students that look at this field, a very up-and-coming field, and a very lucrative field that our students could go into,” Peck said. “It plays right into our STEAM academy and the future of Chenango Forks and what we are trying to do.”