KSU Salina Brings No-Cost STEM Training For Educators

The next generation of Kansas scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians needs quality experiences and knowledgeable teachers, and Kansas State University Salina has helped lead the way through several recent STEM educational opportunities to support K-12 educators.

One outreach project consisted of a drone racing competition designed for middle school students. K-State Salina’s Applied Aviation Research Center, or AARC, provided training for each school’s instructor to help students compete in drone design, engineering, overall speed and skill of flying the drone. Students then competed from their respective schools around the state, including in Salina, Great Bend, Gypsum, Kansas City and Topeka.

“STEM education is an important emphasis in many assets in life and helps build a promising future for any student,” Kurt Carraway, K-State Salina uncrewed aircraft systems department head and AARC executive director said. “As a leader in drone education, safety and research, we take great pride in sharing our expertise with our fellow educators from around Kansas. Our industry is one that is constantly evolving as technology progresses. It is important to be able to prepare the next generation to have a base knowledge of uncrewed aircraft operations and regulations.”

K-State Salina also partnered with the College of Education, which is leading Project LEAPES. The initiative — which is an acronym for Learning, Exploration and Application for Prospective Engineering Students —seeks to improve rural education in Kansas by offering free training and thousands of dollars in resources for teachers.

Through this project, K-State Salina hosted on-campus learning in STEM-related courses, including training in areas of expertise that include robotics, aviation, uncrewed aircraft systems and computer science. Faculty experts from the campus provided collegiate-level training and knowledge to instructors.

“We are excited to collaborate with the College of Education on the Project LEAPES Virtual Camp. Our campus is committed to supporting education outreach for all Kansans,” said Troy Harding, department head of K-State Salina integrated studies. “These trainings and camps get technology into the hands of K-12 educators and their students. We hope this will ignite a passion in students leading to science and engineering careers.”

As K-State Salina continues to support the university’s mission of becoming a next-generation land-grant, the campus continues to focus on expanding its offering of these engagement programs to help the university increase its annual impact in the community, region and state.