BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will expand its popular “S.H.E. Can” STEM summer camp to Bentonville next summer.
Beginning in July of 2020, the museum will pilot the two-week summer camp in Northwest Arkansas for the next three years.
The camp is designed for students with an interest in aviation and seeks to empower young women to succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.
It’s open and free to fifth through eighth grade students.
The female-centered, aviation-focused experience will provide access to low-income students in Northwest Arkansas thanks to a grant from the Walton Family Foundation at the recommendation of Steuart Walton.
“Our goal has always been to expand this camp across the country to reach more young women and share with them the opportunities available in all areas of aviation,” said Ellen Stofan, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the museum. “We’re very grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for the opportunity to inspire more girls to pursue a variety of STEM career, including aviation.”
The aviation resources located in Northwest Arkansas make it an ideal location to pilot the expansion of the program.
The Bentonville Municipal Airport is home to a 22,000-square-foot aviation hub, Thaden Fieldhouse, named after pioneer aviatrix Louise Thaden, a flight school, FAA flight testing center and numerous unique aviation experiences.
Students at the camp will take part in a number of aviation activities, including daily STEM-focused design challenges, flight training on simulators and two discovery flights with an instructor, tracking progress and building confidence through personalized flight-log books.
Other activities will include a behind the scenes tour of the Bentonville Municipal airport, a visit to the FAA in Fort Smith Regional Airpot, an inquiry activity that illustrates the tangible connections between art and science at the Crystal Bridges Museum, a design challenge at the maker space in the Scott Family Amazeum and an outdoor adventure excursion that will show how flying can take them off the beaten path.
To learn more about the “S.H.E. Can” summer camp, visit the museum’s website.