The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has approved education grants
totaling more than $100,000 in its latest round of funding to
promote careers in the aviation and aerospace industries.
The grants also support courses in science, technology,
engineering and math.
Funding approved by the commissioners include a $53,490 aviation
grant to provide student scholarships and internships for the
University of Oklahoma's annual Sooner Flight Academy next summer in
Norman. More than 1,000 elementary, middle school and high school
students are expected to participate in the 2010 academy.
Lauren Mitchell, director of the Sooner Flight Academy, said the
goal of the academy is to provide opportunities for students to
develop an interest in aviation and pursue a career in aviation or a
With the latest round of funding, the commission has approved
education grants totaling $170,000 during the fiscal year that
started July 1 and more than $1 million in education grants and
contracts since 2000. Grants issued during the fiscal year ended
June 30 totaled $146,000.
Commission officials expect job openings in the state aviation
and aerospace industries.
"In light of the large number of retirements we are expecting to
see within Oklahoma's aviation and aerospace work force within the
next decade, supporting programs like these is critical to the
viability and growth of Oklahoma's top employer, the aerospace
industry," said Victor Bird, Aeronautics Commission director. "We
are the envy of many of my peers across the nation because of the
amount the commission invests in STEM (science, technology,
engineering and math) and aviation education programs. Maintaining
that support will be vital for the future health and well-being of
Two of the grants are for robotics.
The commission approved a $5,000 contract for First - For
Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology - Robotics to
help support the Oklahoma regional competition on March 25 to 27 in
Oklahoma City. The goal of First Robotics is to get Oklahoma
students excited about using their knowledge and skills to develop a
About 1,000 high school students and hundreds of volunteers and
mentors are expected to participate in the competition, said Harold
Holley, regional director of First Robotics. Students will work in
teams to design, build and program robots from a standard set of
The goal is to increase interest in engineering careers, Holley
Oklahoma State University was awarded a $3,000 grant to help
support the Robotics Quick Build Session and Programming Workshop, a
kickoff event for the First Robotics regional competition. …