The Nevada Business Aviation Association (NVBAA) has developed an outreach program to introduce aviation to local students.
What began as an after-school aviation club at a high school in Clark County has in three years grown into an aviation science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education outreach initiative, according to a report from the National Business Aviation Association.
NVBAA President Reza Karamooz started the after-school Aviation Club at Sunrise Mountain High School (SMHS) in 2014 to introduce students to aviation, aerospace and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). That year, a team of four students, led by Karamooz and his wife, a math teacher at SMHS, competed with other high school teams from around the country and won the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge.
NVBAA also provides summer internships for aviation and robotics club students, and arranges for students to tour industry sites, such as air traffic control towers, air force bases and business aviation flight departments.
In addition, NVBAA hosted nearly 300 students from two southern Nevada high schools at NBAA’s 2015 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition’s Careers in Business Aviation Day.
“We take our students on tours and bring them to aviation industry events knowing that something they see will resonate with them,” said Karamooz. “We also discuss career paths with them and bring in leaders from the military, business aviation, aircraft maintenance and manufacturing to speak to our students.”
NVBAA continues to expand its reach. The group recently completed an Aviation Show and Tell day, including a UAS flight demonstration, for all SMHS students, and members of the Aviation Club gave aircraft and drone flight simulator lessons and displayed a model jet created by a 3D printer.
“NVBAA’s work with local high school students is an incredible model for other local and regional aviation groups,” said Stacy Howard, NBAA’s Southwest regional representative. “The group’s commitment to the next generation of aviation professionals is outstanding and appreciated by NBAA.”
Karamooz encourages other local and regional business aviation groups to consider an initiative similar to NVBAA’s program and says NVBAA looks forward to sharing its experiences with other associations.
“Kindergarten through grade 12 students in at-risk schools with economic and academic challenges are the ones who need our help the most,” said Karamooz. “I urge [regional groups] to reach out to schools in your area that lack the funding for science labs, computer labs and advanced teaching tools, and get involved by sponsoring after school programs, job shadow days and site tours.”