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June 4, 2018
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Dreams Soar visits the FAA’s
William J Hughes Technical Center
Shaesta Waiz and Jill Meyers with the FAA Aviation STEM planning team at the William J Hughes Technical Center.
Dreams Soar was invited to three days of events hosted and sponsored by the Aviation STEM program office at the FAA’s William J Hughes Technical Center at the Atlantic City, NJ airport.
This tech center is “a unique facility doing important research which involves aviation safety, human safety, software, structures, propulsion and airports”, describes FAA Aviation Research Manager Eric Neiderman.
Day One: Shaesta gave a morning presentation to almost 200 local high school students and their teachers at Aviation STEM Day.
“As a woman, I was inspired hearing Shaesta’s story.” said 16-Melissa Duff, a junior from Egg Harbor Township High School. Melissa also said she is interested in a career involving computer programming.
The Annual Aviation STEM Day event lets students learn firsthand the career opportunities in aviation that are related to STEM. The FAA Tech Center set up 14 booths displaying all of the new technologies being researched at the facility. Many students aren't aware of aviation career opportunities besides being a pilot. The Aviation STEM Day event taught them about the chemists, mathematicians, engineers, meteorologists and coders who work behind the scenes.
“Aviation STEM differs from STEM because we’re using aviation principles to spark an interest in math and science,” said the FAA’s Aviation STEM Program Manager, Lyndsay Digneo.
In the afternoon, Shaesta spoke with a group of female cadets from the Atlantic County Institute of Technology’s U.S. Air Force Junior ROTC organization. Shaesta spoke to the young women about her journey and about never giving up on their dreams.
“I am sure that my cadets really could identify with you. I think I saw a flame starting to flicker inside them. Your example, Shaesta, of what is possible if you want to grasp it, will have a sublime but certain effect on these young women.” said LtCol Douglas Rose, the commander of their unit, in an email to Shaesta that evening.
Day Two: On Tuesday, the FAA had hundreds of guests at the center to see exhibits and demonstrations, and to hear a series of Tech Talks. Dreams Soar was featured in a presentation given by Shaesta to a group of FAA staff and visiting Air Traffic Controllers.
Day Three: Dreams Soar's Jill Meyers was the Keynote speaker on Wednesday at a meeting of the Southern New Jersey Professional Societies. This is a group of local professionals from the following organizations:
IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
AIAA - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
ITEA - International Test & Evaluation Association
INCOSE - International Council on Systems Engineering
NSBE - National Society of Black Engineers
HFES - Human Factors Ergonomics Society
AAUW - American Association of University Women

Jill gave a presentation on the history and future of women in aviation and aerospace, starting with the first woman to obtain a pilot license, Raymonde de Laroche (1910), and ending with… Shaesta Waiz and Dreams Soar!

“Your story and Shaesta's story are both amazing and extremely motivational. I love this entire idea and everything it stands for. This is something that means a lot to me, because I too would love to do something of this sort and be able to inspire the next generation of kids. I find so much joy in igniting a spark within the hearts and minds of the future of this planet and breaking down boundaries.” said one of the attendees, a member of IEEE, in an email to Jill after the event.
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