Rogers State University and Google teamed up Saturday to host the first Aero Games at the RSU campus in Claremore.
Junior high and high school students competed in hands-on events featuring gliders, wind-powered rockets, remote-controlled helicopters and other aero-related objects. The 25 teams were judged on distance, height, weight, volume and draft.
“The goal is to promote STEM education (science, math, engineering and technology), by offering a fun and interactive learning experience at no cost to the students,” said Kay Gustafson, public relations representative for Gooden Group, a client of Google.
Gustafson said Oklahoma schools just recently added the STEM program in September of last year. Since then, the state has granted more than $300,000 to STEM services for 150 teachers across Oklahoma.
After the tallying of team scores, awards were given in the Will Rogers Auditorium as Aero Games closed with keynote speaker, NASA systems engineer Tracy Drain.
Drain shared information on how knowledge of math and science is used everyday in the real world.
Growing up, Drain thought science and technology were both fun and interesting. She was a big fan of Star Wars and the Star Trek series and knew she wanted to work in the space program someday.
Drain said her first assignment as a student in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, was to work on futuristic robotic outposts on Mars. She later built and tested computer instructions for a spacecraft, for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission.
Drain also worked on the popular Kepler Mission, where she co-led the operations team in responding to unplanned events during space travel to different planets in the solar system.
She said she is currently working on the Juno Mission to Jupiter, focusing on ways to provide safe space travel to the planet.
The remote-controlled spacecraft will provide NASA with the useful data and is expected to arrive at Jupiter sometime in 2016.