ESTEM-ulating the mind
Posted by PA3 Richard Brahm, Sunday, March 13, 2011
The Coast Guard prepares for a lot of scenarios. Did the helicopter just lose an engine? That’s a scenario. Did the small boat just capsize? That’s covered as well.
The list goes on, but one thing that isn’t in any manual is how to prepare for an invasion of kids: 150 of them to be precise.
But that’s exactly what happened March 5th at Air Station Houston.
One person stepped up to coordinate the event. Lt. j.g. Michael Gibson, public affairs officer and pilot at the air station worked for three months to prepare for the 150 students and their chaperones.
Most people can manage their own day-to-day schedules, but inevitably something will go wrong. Now imagine trying to do this for about 170 people, things can get a little challenging pretty fast.
“We had a lot of last minute changes to accommodate the group,” Gibson said. “For one, the weather posed a significant obstacle causing multiple people to cancel, and we had originally planned for two groups of 125 students but ended up consolidating them into one group.”
Now you can’t coordinate an event as big as this one all by your self.
Gibson worked with multiple people to make this event happen. One of those individuals was Argentina M. James, president & CEO of Hill Day Public Relations Inc.
Argentina helped bring together the Energized for Science Technology Energy and Mathematics Academy‘s four school campuses: E-STEM Academy High School Central and West campus (9th and 10th Grades) and the Middle School Central and West campus (6Th and 7th Grades).
The event is labeled as an aviation field experience and is part of the academy’s STEM-ulation program.
“The event helps to increase the students’ awareness of STEM-related careers by providing reality-based field experiences with S.T.E.M. professionals within major Houston area corporations,” said Argentina.
“The students were provided with an opportunity to learn about U.S. Coast Guard careers and scholarship opportunities that include marine pilots and aviation pilots,” said Argentina. “The students also got the opportunity to see how the U.S. Coast Guard protects and saves lives.”
Gibson was able to locate 10 Coast Guardsmen from five different units across the Houston-Galveston area to participate in the day’s events, including pilots and crews from the air station, and boatswain’s mates from Coast Guard Station Galveston.
“These people gave up their personal time to come in on the weekend so they could talk to these kids about the Coast Guard’s missions,” Gibson said.
One of those people was Lt. j.g. Brian Seekatz, training officer and pilot at the air station. He was in charge of explaining to the students how all of the subjects they were learning in school were actually applicable to the Coast Guard and its missions involving helicopters.
“I tried to show them how the school work they are doing now, does apply to real life scenarios by giving them some of the quick mental math computations we do while flying,” Seekatz stated.
“These kids asked some really good questions,” Seekatz said. “Like ‘Why are there two sets of controls in a helicopter?’ and that allowed me to talk about how its safer to fly with two pilots.”
“We covered a wide range of topics from math to science,” Seekatz said. ”I talked to them about the night vision goggles we use and how science is used to amplify the light in the dark so we can see at night.”
“It makes me feel great to share what I do with the kids and its fun to try to put that bug in their brain saying ‘Hey you can do this, it is within your reach to become a helicopter pilot as long as you work hard’,” Seekatz stated.