Aerospace Education Council Update: January 2024 

January 30, 2024   |   By Stephen Gourley

Happy New Year! Last year went quickly as time does seem to go when you are busy. Your Education Council accomplished many tasks, both routine and exceptional, and now, 2024 is upon us. A new year brings new opportunities for us to advance the Education pillar of our mission. 

To start 2024 off with a bang, the Board of Directors met January 10-11 at AFA Headquarters in Arlington, Va., and formally approved the establishment of a national level award, the “Pitsenbarger Full Measure Award.” The intent is to enhance the prestige of our (basic) Pitsenbarger awards to Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) graduates by offering the opportunity to compete for a much larger grant. The winner will receive national recognition for their efforts at pursuing an education, contributing to the Department of the Air Force, and participating in AFA activities. AFA will work with CCAF and the Department of the Air Force to refine the details and plans for this award with the expectation the first award will be in 2025. In the meantime, Chapters and States should endeavor to find, contact, and engage Pitsenbarger recipients in local activities. 

One of the (unfortunately) enduring objectives of the Council is to raise awareness of its efforts with the AFA Field and membership. The intent is to bolster communication via whatever means succeed in increasing awareness, and ultimately open channels for feedback to the Council on its work. The AFA website has seen several improvements by consolidating Education reports and articles on a single page (, thereby facilitating visitors’ and members’ discovery of on-going activities. The online AFA in Action submission form makes it easy to share articles on Field activities for publication in the same way the Council submits its articles monthly. You still have the option of sending questions, suggestions, and ideas to; please feel free to use it, whenever. 

For ease of access, here are all of this month’s Education stories: 

The New Year also brings the start of application and nomination season. Currently, applications are being sought for AFA scholarships, registration for CyberCamps and StellarCamps open soon, and Chapters and States should be nominating deserving educators for their respective Teacher of the Year. State Teachers of the Year selected in 2023 and 2024 are eligible for nomination for recognition as the Thompson-Mallett National Teacher of the Year. Chapter and State selections are due to National no later than April 30; Thompson-Mallett nominations are due no later than June 30. We have many exceptional teachers across the U.S. Go find them, support them, and use our program to recognize them among their peers! In the meantime, while we look forward to the National Finals for CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers in March and April, respectively, leverage these two programs as fertile ground for future Teachers of the Year. 

Lots of opportunities—go forth and do good things! 

Stephen K. Gourley

Vice Chair of the Board, Education

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