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Team Kirtland sparks interest in STEAM at Discovery Festival

A photo of students at a fair.

Members of the 377th Mission Support Group Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit teach students about different EOD technologies during the Discovery Festival at the Albuquerque Convention Center, in Albuquerque, New Mexico Nov. 22, 2019. The EOD team was one of several Team Kirtland mission partners that attended the event geared toward Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics careers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Nagle)

Photo of students at a fair.

Air Force Senior Airman Norman Parks, 377th Mission Support Group Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, teaches students about EOD technology during the Discovery Festival at the Albuquerque Convention Center, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nov. 22, 2019. More than 3,200 local students attended the event that highlighted different Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics careers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Nagle)

Photo of students at a fair.

Students operate a robotic arm during the Discovery Festival at the Albuquerque Convention Center, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nov. 22, 2019. The students came from all over the Albuquerque community to learn about different Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics careers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Nagle)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Members of Team Kirtland engaged the local community alongside fellow Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, or STEAM-focused local companies, schools and nonprofit agencies during the Discovery Festival at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Nov. 22, 2019.

The Discovery Festival is an interactive STEAM event coordinated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico. This is the festivals sixth year, but only the second year of participation for the 377th Air Base Wing and Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

According to Cindy Dominguez-Trujillo, 377th Air Base Wing Special Assistant to the Commander on Diversity and Affirmative Employment, this event is held in an effort to engage with young students in the community, spark interest for STEAM and make them aware of the job opportunities that are available at Kirtland.

“Frequently the kids in the community don’t have the opportunity to come beyond our fence line [of the base],” said Dominguez-Trujillo. “This is our way to bring our fence line outside to them.”

Students had the opportunity to interact with members from the 377th Mission Support Group explosive ordnance disposal unit, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and Air Force Research Laboratory while playing with robotic arms, Ozobots and learning about different weapons.

“The base is a huge part of the economy here in Albuquerque,” said Lori Carabajal, Discovery Festival Committee chair and Big Brothers Big Sisters board member. “We need to recruit more from within. Through a fair like this, we can get our kids educated and excited about STEAM careers and recruit from within the community.”

According to Carabajal, the more than 3,200 students that were part of this year’s event, had their eyes wide open and were excited for the hands-on demonstrations.

Team Kirtland plans to continue working with this STEAM project, and the community.