Aerospace Education Council Update: May 2023

May 16, 2023

What would compel a titan of industry, a four-star Air Force general, an aerospace industrial legend, and an active NASA astronaut to congregate together? Why, nothing less than the awards banquet for the StellarXplorers IX National Finals! Teams from California, Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania, having distinguished themselves by superlative performance through three qualification rounds and a semi-final, traveled to Space Center Houston in Texas to compete one last time for top honors in this rigorous STEM competition. After a grueling, eight-hour mission analysis and concept development session, the teams presented their work to a distinguished panel of space experts for final judging.  When the dust settled and the anticipation in the banquet room was tangible, Mr. Norman Augustine, aerospace legend and former CEO of Lockheed Martin, announced the National Champions: the Air Force Junior ROTC team from Edmond North High School in Edmond, Okla. All 10 teams were commended for their overall success in the competition – none of the teams were sorry they attended.

Registrations for both our CyberCamps and StellarCamps are open. These camps, carefully prepared for even novice presentation, are a tremendous way for Chapters and States to introduce themselves to local museums, industry, and various education institutions. Both educators and students are eligible to attend these camps, which stimulate interest in cybersecurity and space system design. Last month, AFA awarded 40 educator grants and provided funding for AFJROTC and CAP grants. Each of these are an open doorway to establish a relationship with your local schools. Follow up on these grants, see what you can do to facilitate a camp, and encourage the next generation to explore STEM education and careers.

As we prepare our monthly newsletter for May, outlining all the good work being done across our Association and with our strategic, Education partners, we are excited to transition to the new AFA-wide newsletter, AFA in Action.  For many months, the Council has struggled with how best to increase the distribution, and thereby understanding, of what it is doing, as well as make it easy for Chapters and States to highlight the good Education work being done in the Field. AFA in Action is planned to go to all our members, a vastly larger audience than just Field leaders. Our Field organization is encouraged to share the events and successes it accomplishes regularly, especially, from the Council’s perspective, the Education programs.  The ultimate success of AFA in Action will depend a great deal on the “cards and letters” from the Field, so don’t hesitate to share your secrets.

In the meantime, go forth and do good things!

Stephen K. Gourley
Vice Chairman of the Board, Education

Calendar Items:

  • Deadline for National Teacher of the Year submissions is June 30
  • CyberPatriot Camps underway June and July, closing August 4th           
  • CyberPatriot Team registration is open until October 3rd
  • StellarXplorers Team registration is open until October 17th
  • StellarCamps underway June and July, closing August 25th

Aerospace Education News

Shaley Dunn


North Carolina Cadet Nets 3 Service Academy Appointments

A cadet flight commander for the North Carolina Wing’s Hickory Composite has received not one, not two, but three service academy appointments, ultimately choosing the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as her next destination.

Cadet 2nd Lt. Shaley Dunn also received appointments to the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, along with an alternate appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy for good measure.

Full story from CAP.NEWS.