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127th Wing hosts three area STEM events

  • Published
  • By Penelope Carroll
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs

In the past two weeks, nearly 1,000 students from twenty schools throughout southeast Michigan participated in three Aviation-focused Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) events hosted by the Michigan Air National Guard 127th Wing at the Detroit City Airport, Oakland County International Airport, and Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
“The hands-on displays at the events allowed area high school and middle school students to see military and civilian aircraft up close, and introduced them to the latest opportunities in high-tech aviation and STEM career fields,” said Air Force Maj. Mark Vaught, 2022 Selfridge Open House and Air Show director, and the STEM events organizer. The events also promoted the upcoming Selfridge Open House and Air Show to be held July 9 and 10 free to the public.  

Vaught, born and raised in Detroit, started flying in high school with the Tuskegee Airmen at the Detroit City Airport, and participated in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program at Henry Ford High School. According to Vaught, these programs influenced him to pursue a career in aviation. He currently flies KC-135 Strato-Tankers conducting aerial refueling missions with the 127th Wing, and is also a commercial pilot. 

“The students need to know that high-paying careers in aviation are available and within their reach,” said Vaught. “That’s what these events are all about. We want to inspire the next generation and give them that same passion that we have for science and technology.” According to Vaught, STEM events are about having fun and learning in a way that engages students through interactive opportunities. “Career opportunity emphasis was placed on the older students, while the younger kids were encouraged to engage and have fun learning,” he said.

“We have students in this area without access to Selfridge so this is a great opportunity for them to be able to come out to the base and talk to the pilots and access the aircraft and all the displays,” said Sarah Strohbeck, career readiness and counselor consultant for the Macomb Intermediate School District.  “It’s also a great opportunity for me to see and meet with all these various pathways into STEM careers so that I can pass it on to our students.”

Displays and hands-on activities included drone and robot demonstrations, 3D printing, rocket building experiments, flight simulators, telescope training and cyber security.  They also held a roundtable discussion on women in aviation and how to prepare for career opportunities in aviation.

L’Anse Creuse High School Principal Major Mickens joined his students at Selfridge ANGB.  “We had more than 260 kids initially sign up for this event and the kids are very excited to be out here on the base, which is not even five minutes from our school,” he said. “The STEM is the most important part of events like this – this is where education is going and these kids are all really focused on that.”

About the Selfridge Open House and Air Show
The 2022 Open House and Air Show will be held July 9-10 to celebrate the “Next 100 Years” of military flying at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.  The free event will feature the U.S. Army Golden Knights, Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team and the CF-18 Demonstration team from the Royal Canadian Air Force, plus numerous other flying acts and static displays.  For more information visit