Space Camp Scholarship

The Air Force Association’s mission to “advocate for aerospace power and STEM education” and to “support the total AF family and promote aerospace education” has most recently been achieved through the use of supporting summer camps that focus on such topics. Haden Bennett, 14 years old is a Navarre High School Freshman, she has been awarded the very first AFA scholarship to attend one of three camps offered by the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, AL. This scholarship may be new, but AFA plans to continue offering this and similar scholarships in the future. This inaugural scholarship was made possible by the Tennessee Valley Chapter’s vision and execution along with the generous donations of AFA Chapters in New York. The scholarship was opened for the child of any USAF enlisted Airman, Active Duty, Air National Guard, or Air Force Reserve, who was between 12 and 14 years of age. The scholarship covers the full costs of the camp, to include registration fee, camp activities, room, and board for a week (Sunday – Friday).

The AFA Scholarship Committee selected Haden as the scholarship recipient, based upon her one-page narrative describing why she wished to attend one of the USSRC camps and any special awards or recognition, along with any other extracurricular activities or community service she had performed. The Scholarship Committee selection was based upon the student who best epitomizes the U.S. Air Force Core Values: “Integrity First – Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do”. 

… I want to learn more than what my 6th and 8th grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) classes taught me. Building and programming our own robot at the end was not sufficient enough to satisfy my curious mind. The USSRC camps give kids the opportunity to learn aerospace and encourage them to select it as their career.
— Haden Bennett

The USSRC conducts three STEM-related camps: Space Camp, Aviation Challenge, and Robotics Camp. At Space Camp, astronaut training techniques are used to engage trainees in real-world application of STEM subjects while training in simulators like those used by NASA. This camp was initiated and established in 1982 by Dr. Wernher von Bran, the then director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Aviation Challenge was created in 1990 with a curriculum based on actual military fighter and test pilot training that includes the use and study of flight simulators, land and water survival, escape and evasion, flight planning, aerodynamics, navigation, and history of aviation. The Robotics Camp is the most recently established USSRC camp, created in 2013. Robotic trainees engineer robots of the future, and test air, land and sea robots. 

Click here to read the article featuring Bennett in the Navarre Press.