704th Test Group supports STEM Career Expo in Alamogordo, New Mexico

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  • By Deidre Ortiz
Members of the 704th Test Group at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, a unit of Arnold Engineering Development Complex, played a notable role in the planning and execution of the 2018 New Mexico Aviation Aerospace Association Career Expo.

Middle school through college-level students from throughout the state of New Mexico attended the Sept. 27 event at Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students also received a hands-on look at these STEM careers and training opportunities, with aviation aircraft, military aircraft, higher education institutions, science demonstrations, flight training schools and other military displays made available to them at the event.

According to Heather Kangas, the STEM outreach coordinator for the 704 TG, a great deal of work goes into making the NMAAA Career Expo a successful event, which was attended by more than 2,900 students in 2017.

“There are hundreds of volunteers that support the Career Expo, from setting up to manning the booths and planes,” she said. “It takes a lot of behind the scenes work to get it all done. We have school officials, teachers, military and contractor personnel involved, so a big conglomerate of people who come together to make sure it all runs smoothly.”

Kangas, who was on the planning committee for this year’s event, stated members of the 704 TG helped man several stations and gave presentations, including ones on crash dummies, GPS jammers, gas masks and military weapons.

“Students are guided through the different aspects of the event, and there are speakers scheduled during the day,” she said. “The high school and college students also get an opportunity to talk to recruiters. Much of the event is aviation-focused, and we want to inspire kids and show them that one day they could have a cool job, even here locally.”

Planning is already underway for the 2019 NMAAA Career Expo event, which will be held at the Roswell International Air Center. Though it won’t be hosted by Holloman AFB, Kangas knows it will be another great event.

“People really step up anytime kids are involved, and they get really excited about getting the kids engaged,” she said. “The event is truly all about the kids and that’s what makes it a lot of fun too.”