AFLCMC leaders help kick off 'The Big Hoopla' STEM Challenge

  • Published
  • By Jim Varhegyi, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFLCMC) --- Lt. Gen. Donna Shipton, Air Force Life Cycle Management Commander, helped kick off The Big Hoopla “The Road Starts Here” by speaking at the Hoopla’s STEM Challenge opening ceremony on March 17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

Shipton is no stranger to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. She has a degree in electrical engineering and her son competes in robotics events with his high school team.

“One of the great things that I love about our Air Force is all the adventures we get to have every single day. Our scientists and engineers work hard to bring great things like satellites and fighter weapons systems to bear, and they do great things for the nation,” said Shipton. I hope that you have fun today and that someday, maybe you want to be in our Air Force or Space Force to carry these interests forward on behalf of our nation.”

Shipton also thanked the parents and grandparents who brought their kids to the STEM challenge and all the event exhibitors for providing an exciting way to showcase STEM activities for the participants.

Following her remarks Shipton and AFLCMC Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Alan Weary visited with event organizers and participants and toured the exhibits.

Championed by Wright State University, the STEM Challenge is geared toward K-8 students. The event organizer’s goal was to tie together the excitement and passion for college basketball with the power of STEM education. Regional and national partners were on hand to engage with students with hands-on STEM-related activities.

Sarah Spees, director of business development and projects at the Dayton Development Coalition and executive director of The Big Hoopla Inc., explained that the event’s mission is to support youth STEM education with the hope that the students will understand the value and commitment that military members make and to look at career path opportunities that exist for them as they continue their education.

The event also featured a “hotshot” challenge where students competed for a chance to show off their basketball skills during halftime at the NCAA First Four games this week.

The Big Hoopla events are designed to highlight Dayton’s collaborative spirit, basketball unity, and affinity for U.S. military members serving both locally and around the world.

The Big Hoopla “The Road Start Here” kicks off the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament by hosting teams from all over the country to compete for the chance to be one of the first four teams to enter the tournament. March Madness culminates in determining the men’s and women’s NCAA Division 1 college basketball national championship teams.