Flying and boating: a STEM Center summer
Published 2:01 pm Thursday, July 22, 2021
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FAMILY AFFAIR: Preparing for a class, STEM Center founder Alvin Powell got to spend some time with his son Desmond, an Air Force veteran and current airline pilot who used some of his time off to enrich students in the STEM Center aeronautics camp. (Photo submitted by Karen Thiel)
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON: Retired Air Force pilot and aircraft commander Desmond Powell, who is the son of STEM Center founder Alvin Powell, paid a visit to add some real-life expertise for aeronautics camp participants. Assisting him is Julian Cameron, the STEM Center intern and an ECU junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
WILL IT FLY?: Aviation camp participant Quincy Bailey, at left, holds his breath at the aeronautics camp, while his styrofoam airfoil is tested at the air tunnel by STEM Center founder Alvin Powell and Program Coordinator Jessica Williams.
QUITE AN EXPERIENCE: Classmates Hanna Mosher (at left) and Tanith Huggins (at right) got to do way more than listen to lectures and visit museums during the IBX STEM Center's summer camp. They are pictured here, victoriously smiling after completing their first-ever flights in the aircraft they just operated and landed at Washington-Warren Airport.
INTENSE CONCENTRATION: Chocowinity resident London Oliver seems like she had no task more important than successfully completing a styrofoam boat model before it got tested for quality, during this year's boating camp at the IBX STEM Center.
DO OR DIE TIME: Samuel Cole Matthews practically held his breath as his styrofoam boat hull model made its way down the water test track during boating camp activities at the IBX STEM Center.
INSPECTION TIME: Jay Lynn Grace Hannah hands over her styrofoam boat hull model for the approval of IBX STEM Center founder Alvin Powell, just before it was to be tested in the center's state of the art water test track.
AHOY ALL STUDENTS: A highlight of this year's boating summer camp was a visit from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary,which included a tour of the vessel and life advice from several members of Flotilla 20-06, part of the group's Division 20 crew.
Almost 30 area middle and high school students spent two weeks of their summer learning about aviation and nautical theory, visiting area museums related to those subjects, talking about nautical careers with members of the Coast Guard, operating “live” drones, and – for the courageous ones – operating an actual aircraft at the Washington-Warren Airport.
Those students were participating in programs offered at the Inner Banks STEM Center, located across from the airport and run since 2013 by Alvin Powell, its founder and president. The camps are part of a multifaceted program that, according to its mission statement, was founded to focus on Beaufort County students with socioeconomic need and, over the years, has expanded its reach to include participants from other counties and cooperative partnerships with several school systems, universities and community groups.
The nonprofit organization uses a traditional STEM curriculum that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics to enrich, encourage and eventually enable its participants to gain jobs in those fields. Funding for these programs come from grants and local support from county and municipal governments, as well as gifts from private donors. Opportunities exist throughout the school year as well as during the summer, including mentoring and a new social justice and racial equity program for interested participants. A new drone course has also been added, with an on-line curriculum that was designed by Powell and has been copyrighted by the STEM center. Powell said the program, in its first session at Beaufort County Community College, is turning out very well for the students participating in the combo of computer learning and hands-on drone operation.
Program details and contact information for the center can be found at ibxstem.org on the worldwide web.