Engineers for America (EFA) is a locally developed program that builds on national and state emphasis on science and engineering studies for elementary and middle school students. The Air Force Armament Museum Foundation, the award winning Okaloosa County School District, and representatives of local colleges and universities developed a formal curriculum that involves experimentation and then a guided tour of Armament Museum exhibits which represent real world examples of engineering challenge and success.
Purpose and Program:
Engineers for America (EFA) is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based educational program. The target group is elementary and middle school students (5th through the 8th grade) in Okaloosa County which is located in the Florida panhandle. For participating students, the EFA Program is designed to motivate more students into technical careers to meet the critical shortage of engineers, scientists and mathematicians the United States faces in the future. The sorties provide the students with the opportunity to practice and master grade level benchmark skills ).
EFA Executive Committee:
The EFA Executive Committee is chaired by the Armament Museum Foundation Chairman, Lt. General (Ret.) Gordon Fornell. The Exec Committee meets 3 to 4 times during the school year to review the Program's status and to discuss current STEM initiatives in the greater Fort Walton Beach area. Members of the Executive Committee include: Okaloosa County School District officials representative of STEM focused organizations such as the American Institute of Aeronautics ad Astronautics, the Doolittle Institute, Northwest Florida State College and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base.
The Okaloosa County School District is the lead agent for curriculum change and development. Teacher training is critical in making and keeping the program successful. Teachers are formally trained which greatly facilitates the conduct of experiments (called sorties). Sorties are continuously updated based on both teacher and student recommendation.
Both personal and organizational donations have been instrumental in developing the Program. National Defense Education Program.grant funds in t he total amount of $387,101 have been critical in the growth and continued operation of the Program.
On 13 November 2007, 42 5th grade students from Longwood Elementary in Shalimar, FL came to the museum as the very first EFA classroom visit. Student participation has grown significantly from the program's beginning. To date (Jan 2017) more than 6,500 students have participated in the Program.
The STEMM Center:
In 2012, the Okaloosa County School District created the STEMM Center
(Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics/Medical). A closed elementary school centrally located in the county was converted into the Center which includes tech enhanced classrooms, a flight laboratory and a state of the art conference and training facility. Additionally, one section of the campus has been dedicated to the EFA program. This greatly facilitates both administration and conduct of the experimental phase of the EFA Program. The selected experiments are conducted in a pre set laboratory type setting.
Thank you for your interest: Contact Paul Maryeski, Foundation Executive Director and EFA Co Director, at 850.830.3321 or EDAFAMF@cox.net or Ms Neely Calhoun, EFA Co Director, at 850.833.4174.