EDWARDS AFB – The Antelope Valley Chapter of the International Test and Evaluation Association celebrated their 2014 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics grant recipients this month.
The group enjoyed Subway sandwiches in the Chapel One Annex March 19 and watched presentations by the honorees.
This year’s grant recipients were the Branch Elementary School Mathletes, the Desert Junior-Senior High and Branch Elementary Odyssey of the Mind teams, and the Desert High Scorpion Robotics team. Each team received $500 totaling $2,000 in grant money to the Edwards schools.
Pam Tanck, President of the AV Chapter ITEA, explained that each grant recipient had to submit a proposal telling why they needed the funds and how they intended to use the money. This year, due to limited funds, ITEA members decided that only base school groups would be considered.
“This year we did not get money like we’re used to so, we didn’t have enough to distribute to many schools,” said Tanck. “We didn’t feel like it would be fair to make all these kids write all these proposals when we didn’t have the money to distribute, so we made a decision to take whatever related projects that were going on here on the base, since that’s our core group.”
Though the Mathletes team was unable to attend the luncheon, members of the Robotics and Odyssey of the Mind teams shared what they have done as a team and what they can expect at their next competitions.
Michele McCormack, kindergarten teacher at Branch Elementary School and Odyssey of the Mind third grade coach, said that it costs over $1600 just to get the team to their next competition.
The Antelope Valley chapter of ITEA has given away more than $180,000 in educational grants since their founding in 1996.
“Because this base is really oriented towards test and evaluation, the International Test and Evaluation Association has been one of the groups that’s been really instrumental in making sure that all the people that are involved in testing here at Edwards have a professional organization to go to and to help with keeping up with all the technology,” said Tanck.
According to Tanck, one of the “big things” the AV Chapter does is an annual workshop, which brings in between $10-$20,000 dollars that is used to support STEM-related programs in the local schools. Due to budget problems, the 2013 workshop was postponed for one year and the next workshop will be held in Las Vegas this May.
“We bring together people from all over the country that are experts in various aspects of test and evaluation and a lot of folks take these workshop classes and learn about what’s coming up and what new things in technology can be used for test and evaluation,” said Tanck.
Tanck shared that she “loves” the Robotics and Mathletes teams because they are “really engineering projects.”
“I know other members really like the Odyssey of the Mind [teams] because they teach the kids quick, on-their-feet thinking, how to solve abstract kind of problems, the people sort of problems, how you coordinate a group, which is also important. It’s another aspect of engineering,” sad Tanck.
“We try, every year, to clean out our bank account,” said Tanck. “We try to make sure everything we’ve got goes out to schools. We just want to make sure everything we take in we get right back out as soon as possible.”