Monday, November 13, 2023

2023 SOAR Into STEM Fall Session Concludes with Career Fair, Young Eagle Flights

By Carmelo Turdo
Wings of Hope hosted a Career Exploration Fair Saturday morning to close the Fall SOAR Into STEM Session. Students from around the St. Louis area met directly with representatives from higher education institutions, aviation industry employers and youth development organizations who are working together to address the current aerospace industry workforce shortage. Here we include a look at some of the exhibitors interacting with the students and parents throughout the fair along with the added attraction of an aviation book gift table for the student-age attendees.

The Fall SOAR Into STEM Session concluded on a high note as the students took Young Eagle Flights courtesy of EAA Chapter 1675 based at Wings of Hope. The students gained experience performing basic maneuvers as they flew around the local area with their volunteer EAA-member pilots. For most it was their first flight in a general aviation aircraft. Here we present a pictorial review of several flights conducted Saturday morning.

At the conclusion of the Career Fair, Monique Bynum, Community Investor for Education Relations at Boeing Global Engagement, presented a ceremonial grant check to Wings of Hope to support another year of the SOAR Into STEM program. Boeing has provided funding since SOAR Into STEM was developed prior to the first session in 2019, and they continue to generously support STEM education and workforce development programs in St. Louis and around the country. This year, SOAR Into STEM has expanded its reach from Wings of Hope to Washington, MO Regional Airport where another class has been running concurrently this fall. Those students were present at the career fair, and they also took Young Eagle flights upon their return to their home airport. 

Here we feature the grant check presentation with (L-R): School District of Washington, MO Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Kephart; Wings of Hope Board Chairman Fred Meyland-Smith; Monique Bynum; Tiffany Nelson, Wings of Hope Director of Programs; and Dylan Wachter, Systems Engineer at the Boeing Company. 

Tiffany Nelson then introduced the SOAR Into STEM team that has worked to make this program such a great success. Also pictured here are Caitlyn Rettke and Robert Powell with Washington, MO Mayor Doug Hagedorn and Fred Meyland-Smith. 

The Washington, MO SOAR Into STEM team was also recognized for their first session success as well: Dr. Jennifer Kephart and STEM educators Michelle Bobo and Curt Beers. Also included are Boeing employees with the SOAR Into STEM instructors.

The Aero Experience thanks Wings of Hope, the SOAR Into STEM instructors and students, EAA Chapter 1675 and everyone who worked to make the Fall Session a great success!

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