Women’s Forum tout STEM fields to Minuteman High School students, staff

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Hanscom AFB Women’s Forum welcomed 20 students from Minuteman High School in Lexington, Massachusetts, to the installation to explore career field options in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Feb. 27.

Jackie Farrell, Hanscom AFB Women’s Forum president who organized the visit, highlighted the opportunity for students to learn about the base as they prepare for college or other pursuits.

“Most students develop or maintain their interest in STEM fields early on and we want to encourage that interest in high school, so they continue to pursue it through additional education and in their careers,” said Farrell. “A tour like today can open a whole new perspective on potential careers.”

Lt. Col. Joshua Shimko, 66th Air Base group deputy commander, underscored the importance of the visit.

“These opportunities are not just about showcasing our diverse mission, it’s about forging partnerships,” he said. “Through events like this with students, collaboration and shared knowledge, we build stronger, more enduring bonds that benefit us all.”

Minuteman High School is a regional career technical education high school located near the base on Route 2A.

The installation and the school have partnered on several efforts, including a self-defense class hosted by the Women’s Forum and the culinary department making cookies for base holiday events this past December.

“Hanscom is in the backyard for so many of these students and teachers, but many have no idea what happens beyond the gate,” said Farrell. “These events can help Hanscom be a part of this great local community – for recruiting, for synergies, and for collaboration.”

While at Hanscom AFB, students met with program office employees, including those from the Digital and Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks Directorates, and toured facilities on the installation, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory’s Autonomous System Development Facility and The Lantern: Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center. 

The meetings and demonstrations provided the high school sophomores and seniors an opportunity to better understand the technology used to accomplish the warfighting mission.

The Women’s Forum, established in 2021, received the 2023 Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Team Award at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center level in January.

The team hosted 20 Bedford High School students in June for hands-on discussions on STEM and professional opportunities within the Department of the Air Force. Burlington High School students will visit in March.

In addition to hosting outreach programs, the Hanscom Women's Forum is committed to supporting mentorship initiatives aimed at enhancing the development of the current workforce. Through events like these school visits, Hanscom AFB continues to strengthen its ties with the local community and inspire the next generation of leaders.