Inner Banks STEM Center kicks off aviation camp
Washington Daily News. Sabrina Berndt. August 7, 2019.

The Inner Banks STEM Center started its high school Summer Aviation Orientation Camp with instructors Jorge
Bocanegra, Al Powell and Tom Meeks on Monday, continuing their summer program for high school and middle
school students.
The holistic program gives students a chance to learn about engineering and aerodynamics through hands-on
activities and social programs that expose them to new career paths and opportunities.
“This segment is focusing on high school kids,” said STEM Center president Al Powell. “So everything is done at a
higher level of cognitive skill. Everything is pretty much geared to where, when they leave this camp next Friday,
they will have seen stuff they probably had not seen before.”
Monday and Tuesday focused on introductions and the basics of aerodynamics, and the students made model
airplanes that were tested in a wind tunnel for efciency.
On Wednesday, students had the opportunity to learn about piloting from Maj. Desmond Powell, Al Powell’s son
and a pilot for the U.S. Air Force Reserves and UPS. He gave a presentation about his career path, along with his
experiences with different airplanes. His main lesson for the students: stay focused.
“You have to understand what the end goal is,” Maj. Desmond Powell said. “So you have to nd something that
motivates you enough to get past that comfort zone. … You work hard, you get good jobs, you get good benets.”
Later in the program, students will be attending the Virginia Air & Space Center and the Marine Corps Air Station at
Cherry Point to explore a career in the Marines.
The highlight of the program, however, is the opportunity to y a real plane. Each student will learn how to y a
plane through ight simulator training and move on to y a real plane once they become comfortable.
“Once they master maneuvers in that aircraft or that particular training device, then they’ll move on to y the real
airplane next week,” Al Powell said. “Each kid will get time in a real airplane.”
While focused on STEM, the program also takes pride in its holistic educational approach, including working to
improve the students’ condence and morals.
“We focus really hard on having a good moral compass, knowing the consequences of bad decisions as a youth and
how to choose real friends and evaluate peer pressure,” Al Powell said.

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