Selfridge STEM event fuels passion for aviation and upcoming air show – Macomb Daily

The Selfridge team will be hosting an air show this summer and some Macomb County students are already passionate about aviation.

Over the past two weeks, nearly 1,000 students from 21 Detroit-area schools participated in three events focused on aviation, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) hosted by Michigan Air National Guard 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, as well as Detroit City Airport and Oakland County International Airport.

“Hands-on exhibits at the events gave area high school and college students an up-close look at military and civilian aircraft and introduced them to the latest opportunities in high-tech aviation and STEM,” said said Major Mark Vaught, a US Air Force pilot and director of the 2022 Selfridge Open House and Air Show, which organized the program designed to give students the opportunity to learn about the aviation, but also to promote the Selfridge Open Day and Air Show July 9-10.

Vaught, who was born and raised in Detroit, began flying in high school with the Tuskegee Airmen at Detroit City Airport and attended the Air Force Cadet Program at Henry Ford High School. He insists it was these programs that fueled his passion to pursue a career in aviation. He flies the KC-135 Stratotanker performing aerial refueling missions with the 127e Wing, and is also a commercial pilot.

“Students need to know that well-paying careers in aviation are available and within reach,” Vaught said. “That’s what these events are for. We want to inspire the next generation and give them the same passion for science and technology as we do.

STEM events are also designed to engage students.

“The focus was on career opportunities for older students, while younger students were encouraged to engage and have fun learning,” he said.

“We have students in this area who don’t have access to Selfridge so it’s a great opportunity for them to be able to go out to base and talk to the pilots and access the plane and all the screens “said Sarah Strohbeck, Career Preparation and Counselor Consultant for the Macomb Intermediate School District. “It’s also a great opportunity for me to see and experience all these different paths to STEM careers so I can pass them on to our students.”

Representatives from the Tuskegee National Airmen's Museum were among the attendees at Friday's STEM event for Macomb County students at SANG.  George Norkus - For Macomb Daily
Representatives from the Tuskegee National Airmen’s Museum were among the attendees at Friday’s STEM event for Macomb County students at SANG. George Norkus — For the Macomb Daily

Exhibits and hands-on activities included drone and robot demonstrations, 3D printing, rocket building experiments, flight simulators, telescope training and cybersecurity. They also hosted a panel discussion on women in aviation and how to prepare for career opportunities in aviation.

Major Mickens, principal of L’Anse Creuse secondary school, joined his students at Selfridge ANGB.

“We initially had over 260 children registered for this event and the children are very happy to be here on base, which is not even five minutes from our school,” he said. “STEM is the most important part of events like this – that’s where the education goes and these kids are all really focused on that.”


Selfridge Team Open House and Air Show July 9-10 will celebrate the “next 100 years” of military flight at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The free event will feature the U.S. Army Golden Knights, Air Combat Command’s F-22 Demonstration Team and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 Demonstration Team, as well as many other flight numbers and static displays.

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