Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 1:00 am

FWCS takes to air with new STEM partnership

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools soon will celebrate a new partnership encouraging students to pursue STEM careers, the district announced Monday.

A ribbon-cutting highlighting the collaboration between FWCS Career Academy and STEM Flights – a nonprofit providing no-cost STEM education and flight experiences to students – is set for 10 a.m. May 31 in the Sweet Aviation hangar at Smith Field Airport, according to a news release.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

“We are excited about this new opportunity for our students,” FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson said in a statement. “Increasing STEM offerings is one way we are preparing students for jobs of the future.”

A staggering number of high-tech American jobs are being outsourced, said Dave Brubaker, STEM Flights chairman and retired career Air Force fighter pilot.

“We see the problem manifest itself in a current crisis with the number of pilots we produce,” Brubaker said in a statement. “The airlines and U.S. military are especially critically short on pilots and aircrews – a serious concern in an increasingly contentious world.”

Brubaker, who founded STEM Flights, was born and raised in Fort Wayne and flew with the Indiana Air National Guard, the release said.

The STEM Flights program starts online or in a classroom before moving to the cockpit with customized missions that reflect students' interests and relate to STEM objectives. Students are paired with a volunteer pilot for final planning and execution, the release said.

“The students actually take a flight with a STEM Flights pilot in which the STEM mission is applied to aviation,” marketing director Carley Walker said by email.

STEM Flight relies on local communities for support, Brubaker said.

“Individuals and companies who donate time, aircraft and/or financial support can inspire a whole new generation of pilots and help America regain technical leadership through STEM career choices by our youth,” he said.

asloboda@jg.net