Flight Night presented checks totalling $500,000 to fund nearly twenty programs in a ceremony recently. Funds were the result of the 2018 Flight Night Gala held in September and will support potentially life-changing STEM learning opportunities for an estimated 155,000 Oklahoma students and teachers this year.
Speaking at the presentation were John B. Herrington, Ph.D. (CDR, USN (Ret), Astronaut, STS-113), Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Nordam’s Bailey J. Siegfried
Commander Herrington is a retired U.S. Naval Aviator and former NASA astronaut. Born in Wetumka, Oklahoma and a member of the Chickasaw Nation, Commander Herrington was the first enrolled Native American in space. He spoke to the critical role STEM programs have in inspiring and fostering tomorrow’s generation of innovators and explorers.
Flight Night Board Member and Event Co-Chair Bailey J. Siegfried, whose late father Ray H. Siegfried II founded Flight Night, shared that the non-profit has raised more than $2.4 million for local STEM education since 2014. “We are grateful for this strong community support of Flight Night, which allows us to bring transformative learning to students, and much-needed support for teachers,” Siegfried said. “As powered-by-Flight Night programs expand their outreach, we’re excited to see students develop a passion for STEM, and for the rewarding careers their interest and imagination opens up for them as adults.”
Xan Black, executive director of the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance said, “Flight Night has been a force multiplier in STEM Education in Oklahoma, allowing us to expand our reach from 3,000 students to an estimated total of 500,000 students by the end of 2019. We are thrilled that this includes 56 percent female participants, and we are seeing a steady rise in STEM confidence in young women across Oklahoma. This simply would not have been possible without the partnership with Flight Night.”
Benefiting projects include:
Ongoing Support of Unique Mobile Fab Lab:
Operations, programs and materials for the Flight Night Mobile Fab Lab featuring multiple experiential learning labs, digital fabrication tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters and a three-axis mill. The unit moves from school to school in a custom-built, high-tech trailer, with no cost to students or schools.
For Educators: Professional Development, Classroom Grants and ‘Stem Inovator’ Awards:
Flight Night Professional Development Academy launched in 2019 offering varying levels of training matched to Oklahoma curriculum standards along with the summer Sensational Science professional development for educators, classroom and professional development grants totaling nearly $50,000.
STEM Events that Inspire Learning:
Flight Night funds a variety of events throughout the region that spark creative thinking and innovation in young minds. These include: Flight Night Drone Competition, a unique competition where students race drones through a series of obstacles while facing additional challenges that test their abilities in coding, flying and problem-solving; the Kite Festival, an event that brings the science of flight to classrooms around the state in an interactive learning and design process followed by students flying their kites; STEM Career Expo, afterschool STEM programming and other programs designed to illuminate career pathways for students; and the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Explainers program where students present science projects and interact with explainers on the Smithsonian NASM floor over the course of the school year.
Flight Night is primarily funded through the support of the community at an annual gala of the same name, which will be held this year on September 12, 2019 at Tulsa Technology Center, Riverside Campus. Patrons can expect another fantastic and unique aerobatic airshow incorporating custom static displays and entertainment. Event details will be announced soon.
About Flight Night:
Flight Night is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation supporting STEM education programs and projects that inspire curiosity and learning in tomorrow’s leaders. In 2014 the organization’s leadership shifted to focus the mission solely on supporting STEM education. Since that time, $2.4 million has been donated to local partners resulting in more than 425,000 hours of programming for more than 492,000 students and 3,300 teachers.