Aerospace Education Council Update: September 2023

September 26, 2023   |   By Stephen Gourley

September is the end of our “service” calendar, as new Directors and Field officers take their positions on October 1. Having just completed our National Convention, we now welcome William “Bill” Harding (CA) and Robin Rand (CO) to the Board of Directors as at-large members, and Chris Canada as your Vice Chair of the Board for Field Operations. Robin has been in an appointed position on the Board the last two years; Bill and Chris will add new and needed perspectives to Robin’s now seasoned viewpoints. 

In my report to the Convention Delegates, I summarized the activities and accomplishments of the Education Council over the last 12 months. Many of them are the routine business of the Council:

  • CAEA, DSEA selected; awarded at Field Banquet and Air, Space & Cyber Conference 
  • Submitted monthly to AFA in Action 
  • Grants: Educator, JROTC, CAP grants issued; 13 Arnold Air Society/Silver Wings interns funded 
  • Scholarships: 568 applications; 33 awards 
  • Teacher of the Year: 58 Chapter, 23 State nominations; 2023 National TOY selected (of 11) 
  • 2023 CyberPatriot, StellarXplorers National Finals completed 
  • Cyber, StellarCamps held 

In addition, the Council achieved several accomplishments in key areas needing improvement: 

  • Improvement to communication of Council work by evolving its input to AFA in Action and recommending website changes. 
  • Drafting a policy defining how “named” scholarships/programs are created. 
  • Assessing the efficacy of Educator Grants, amending the application format, and increasing the grant value for 2024. 
  • Maintaining AFA sponsorship of JROTC, CAP Cadets of the Year awards. 
  • Continue working on establishing a National Pitsenbarger Award and investigating the feasibility and reasonableness of AFA having an Air STEM program.   

The Council will continue to be an empowered and dynamic forum to support and enhance our Education Programs.  We always want more and different perspectives—care to join us?  Reach out to me at

In this case, Come Forth and Do Good Things! 

Stephen K. Gourley
Vice Chair of the Board, Education

Calendar Items:

Arnold Air Society/Silver Wings Region Conclaves 

Get your AFA Chapter or Region involved with an AAS/SW Region Conclave near you! 

  • RCON I, Warren County, NY: Nov. 3-4, Northeast Region 
  • RCON II, University of Maryland: Nov. 10-11, Central East Region 
  • RCON III, Greensboro, NC: Oct. 27-28, Southeast Region 
  • RCON IV, Orlando: Dates TBD, Fla. 
  • RCON V, Starkville, MS: Oct. 20-21, South Central Region 
  • RCON VI, Lafayette, IN: Dates TBD, Great Lakes Region 
  • RCON VII, Champaign, IL: Nov. 3-4, Midwest Region 
  • RCON VIII, Manhattan, KS: Nov. 3-4, Midwest Region 
  • RCON IX, University of OK: Nov. 17-18, Texoma Region 
  • RCON X, Arizona: Oct. 27-28, Southwest Region 
  • RCON XI, San Diego, CA: Mar. 29-Apr. 2, 2024, Calif.