8/9/2013 - 8/8/2013 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. - — Teachers and faculty members from Altus High School visited the base for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics faculty professional development tour Aug. 8. The tour was to aid in the expansion of STEM education for youth by highlighting the technology behind the training service members rely on. The visit consisted of learning about the 97th Security Forces Squadron Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-17 Globemaster III flight simulators, followed by a static display tour of the KC-135 and C-17 aircraft. Inspiring the growth of STEM education in local schools with incentive-based programs is a vision that Altus AFB continues to strive for. “How we teach and train our Airmen, demonstrations with simulators, and showing what Altus AFB has to offer through subject matter expert presentations are examples of what we can bring to the classrooms or bring students out here to get more hands on experience,” said Katrina Ellis, 97th Force Support Squadron school liaison officer. Throughout the day, Altus High School faculty members were able to see and interact with technology based training systems. Their personal assessment of these training devices allowed for educators to see how the base and its personnel could motivate their students. “We hope to instill a new understanding in students in terms of the career opportunities available in both military and civil service that the Air Force can provide for them,” said Mack Powers, Altus High School chemistry teacher.
Experts from the base provided demos, highlighting the technology behind their career fields in an interactive forum. Kara McErayer, Altus High School biology teacher, said she was thoroughly enthralled with technology behind the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 and it’s hands on interface. “Actually, I enjoyed shooting guns,” McErayer said. “The technology behind it is amazing. I think the more enthusiastic teachers get about being on the base, it carries over to our classrooms which leads to kids being involved and interested in what the base does.”
The day concluded with a static display tour and closing remarks from Col. Sushil Ramrakha, 97th Air Mobility Wing vice commander. “We wanted you to see how we train here. We use technology throughout our base on every aspect of training and teaching our Airmen how to do their mission,” said Colonel Ramrakha. “We are here as a resource for you. If we can spark a bit of interest with your students, it can only benefit our nation as a whole.”