The College of Professional and Continuing Studies’ (PACS) Department of Aviation recently received a $46,750 grant for its Sooner Flight Academy, a year-round program that offers STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities to children, families, teachers and students.
The grant was the largest among $270,000 in aerospace and aviation education grants awarded to 25 different organizations by the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) Wednesday. The record amount of funds will be used to educate Oklahoma children to STEM careers, particularly those in aerospace and aviation, through the Sooner Flight Camp.
“We are very happy to, once again, partner with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and offer summer camp scholarships to children who might not otherwise be able to afford Flight Camp,” said Flight Academy Director Matt Esker. “It is a unique experience, giving kids a peek into the aviation career fields as well as an opportunity to discover, first-hand, STEM topics associated with flight. Many children return to Flight Camp year after year to cement their life-long love of aviation.”
Sooner Flight Academy's summer camp serves more than 350 children in kindergarten through 12th grade each summer. Next summer, the academy will celebrate its 30th consecutive year of offering tailored aviation and aerospace STEM activities through OU’s aviation program.
The learning doesn’t always stop when the summer camps end. The academy often sparks young students to attend other aviation events on campus with their families, eventually leading them to careers in aviation.
Several flight academy students were on campus this week when the aviation department hosted an Envoy Airlines regional jet at Max Westheimer Airport for a special opening day for the fall semester. OU students, along with several flight academy students, had the great opportunity to tour the jet and speak with the visiting Envoy pilots.