Photo: Town of Islip/Long Island MacArthur Airport
Island Hopping

STEM and aviation education partnership celebrates first year

The Cradle of Aviation Museum, the Town of Islip, and Long Island MacArthur Airport are celebrating the one-year anniversary of a successful partnership providing hands-on STEM and aviation education.

The program formally kicked off on March 25, 2023, at MacArthur Airport, just before the 2023 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, where Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps students and educators joined Cradle of Aviation officials, town officials and airport management.

Since then, several Long Island schools have reached out to participate in the program, including Brentwood High School, Freeport High School, Alfano Elementary in Central Islip, Copiague High School, Longwood High School in Middle Island, Manetuck Elementary in West Islip, Brentwood Middle School and the Islip Middle School STEM club.

“This has been a very exciting year and we are thrilled to partner with MacArthur Airport in providing students with real world exposure to careers in aviation. We hope students walk away excited about the possibilities and the opportunities,” said Andy Parton, president of the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Each group participating in the initiative learns about the various career paths in aviation, including airline pilots and crew, the Transportation Security Administration, airport operations, management, law enforcement, air traffic control and the military, among others.

“Together, we opened horizons for over 300 students on Long Island, providing them with career awareness in science, technology, engineering, math, aviation and more,” said Shelley LaRose-Arken, commissioner of aviation and transportation for the Town of Islip. “We set out to motivate and empower Long Island youth, and this partnership did exactly that.”

In the year ahead, MacArthur Airport will introduce a pop-up aviation career exhibit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, as well as an updated career video in the museum’s Planetarium Dome Theater. The hands-on education at MacArthur Airport will begin again this fall, as schools return to session.

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