22:38 PM

Arizona Wing's Educator Member Numbers Surge


azlogoThe Arizona Wing’s educator member ranks have grown by more than 70% to 225  from 131 after the aerospace education team wrapped up a series of six presentations to teachers completing a professional continuing education program offered by Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

The team was invited to share the story of Civil Air Patrol, provide information about the educator membership program, conduct an aerospace education activity, and invite educators to join CAP as education members.

Lt. Col. Ron Marks, Arizona Wing director of aerospace education, collaborated with the university to develop the summer outreach effort as part of a training program known as ASSET, Accelerated Summer STEM Educator Training. It incorporated four days of workshops, including the session headed by CAP aerospace education officers.

GCUEducator members enjoy many free aerospace/STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) educational opportunities, including access to a variety of free K-12 curriculum materials and STEM Kits. They also may receive a teacher orientation flight aboard a CAP plane at their local airport.

The membership category is designed for formal or informal educators involved in promoting aerospace/STEM education in classrooms, home schools, museums, libraries, or other youth-focused settings.

Sharing educator opportunities

The first event took place June 1 on the Grand Canyon campus. Lt. Col. Scott Curtis, an assistant aerospace education officer at Scottsdale Composite Squadron, supported the Goddard foam rocket-building aerospace education activity at the first Phoenix presentation. 

Capt. Nancy Parra-Quinlan, the wing’s assistant director of external aerospace education, designed the workshop and activity. She led the second event June 14 on the campus.

The third event took place June 21 in Pinetop, in northern Arizona, led by Lt. Cols. Phil Hubacek, former deputy chief of staff for AE; Carol Schaubschlager, group commander for eastern Arizona squadrons; and educator member Betsy Alekay. 

Hubacek spoke about CAP programs and the organization’s history. Alekay, who teaches at Blue Ridge Elementary School, where the event was held, led the rocket-building.

“Course attendees were challenged with testing and launching their newly built rockets,” Schaubschlager said. “There were successes and failures to launch in the hallway and some good laughs.” 

Hands-on approach

Educator member Rebecca Bhasme led a fourth workshop in Bisbee, in southeastern Arizona. Capt. Anna Tucker and her son, Cadet 2nd Lt. Levon Tucker, Davis-Monthan Composite Squadron members, assisted Bhasme with the activity. 

The final two sessions were held July 12 in Lake Havasu City and July 13 in Yuma in western Arizona. The Yuma Composite Squadron’s aerospace education officer, 1st Lt. Cecelia Braithwaite, made the presentation.

Braithwaite was joined by 1st Lt. Jonathan Gholson, also from the Yuma squadron, who led a separate session using small Tello quadcopter drones suitable for indoor flying, giving the teachers a chance to try their hands at drone operation.

“We could not be happier with the results,” Parra-Quinlan said. “I’m happy to see so many of my fellow teachers get excited about joining the Arizona Wing’s AE team.”

Susan Mallett, education outreach coordinator for Civil Air Patrol’s aerospace education national  staff, emailed praise for the team’s vision and recruitment initiative as a “best practice (that) can (and should) be replicated across our organization.”
Maj. Margot Myers
Public Affairs Officer
Arizona Wing