Mr. Daniel Folmar, Kennett High School STEM teacher, was one of 28 teachers and mentors from around the country who were selected to attend the Air Force Recruiting Service’s fourth annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Leadership Program, July 12-15.
Hosted at Schriever Air Force Base and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado, the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) gave teachers and mentors a unique opportunity to meet with senior Air Force leaders as part of Air Force recruiting outreach efforts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Folmar was selected for this program after a competitive application process in which applicants had to submit a short essay describing how they get their students excited about science and technology, as well as highlighting any innovative techniques they use to help kids learn and stay motivated.
“I actually considered applying to the Air Force Academy back in high school. I’ve always wanted to visit the facility but never had the opportunity. So I was looking forward to both the tour as well as the leadership training,” said Mr. Folmar. “Three things in particular that impressed me about the Air Force Academy and set it apart from other engineering schools I’ve visited were their commitment to the physical development of each cadet, the hands-on approach to learning (especially in the engineering department), and the focus on ethics that underlies all of their programs, something that is sadly lacking in many college programs. I feel fortunate that FIRST and the Air Force have teamed up to offer this experience to STEM teachers like me.”
The leadership program consisted of character and leadership development seminars, lectures, and team-building exercises to provide insight into how the Air Force develops leaders, how airmen execute their missions as they relate to STEM, and what STEM career opportunities are available in the Air Force.
“STEM is an inherent part of the Air Force mission. By showing our capabilities and instilling the pillars of leadership, with this outstanding group of teachers and mentors we are able to demonstrate the connection between their FIRST efforts and our leadership development efforts,” said Maj. Jacob Chisolm, Air Force Recruiting Service National Events Branch chief.
“We want them to return back to their schools armed with a greater appreciation for the impact leaders can have and having firsthand knowledge of future opportunities for their students,” he added.
FIRST is an organization with a mission to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org , or if interested in joining the Air Force, visit www.airforce.com.