Inaugural STEAM competition pushes local students above and beyond

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Bridgitte Taylor
  • 316th Wing Public Affairs

More than 100 students from local high schools attended the base's inaugural Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math Competition and Exhibition, April 20, 2023.

The event promoted hands-on education for the students and was organized by the 316th Wing and the 459th Air Refueling Wing.

The event featured stations hosted by Airmen showcasing the latest gear and equipment used in their respective fields. Randolph Sena, 316th Wing Inspector General director of inspections, was one of the members teaching students about the Advanced Disaster Management Simulator and its unique ability to virtually simulate catastrophic events such as aircraft crashes and fires.

Another station, hosted by U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations special agents, taught the basics of forensic science. Students learned about fingerprint powder, light-tracking equipment and chemicals used to collect biological evidence.

Other stations included one hosted by 316th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technicians, showing off the latest personal protective equipment such as the EOD 10 bomb suit and helmet. Additionally, 459th Air Refueling Wing Airmen gave students a walk-through and open tour of a KC-135 aircraft. The complete list of contributors included: the 316th Security Forces Squadrons' Drone Buster team, the 316th Medical Group's medical simulators, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center Environmental Restoration Program manager, the 89th Airlift Wing and 89th Operations Support Squadron Aviation Weather team, the 316th Operations Support Squadron Aerospace Physiology team, and the JBA SparkX Cell Innovation and Idea Center team.

Students from Oxon Hill High School, DuVal High School, and Charles Herbert Flowers High School toured the 10 stations, conversing and learning about the programs offered by JBA and the U.S. Air Force.

At the end of the event, students received awards for the scientific projects they presented to the JBA Airmen who judged their work and speaking skills. The projects were based on topics such as biological experiments, cybersecurity and engineering.

"We were able to present to people who really wanted to listen," said Aaliyah Hamizo, a Charles Herbert Flowers High School student. "I also really liked that we were able to see different parts of the Air Force that don't normally get talked about! It was nice to ask people questions about their career and to see if they enjoyed what they did."

JBA plans to make this STEAM event an annual tradition, hoping to inspire and educate young minds about the world of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.