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SMC's STEM, MILSATCOM Team Efforts Recognized by FEB

Leonard Gonzales, director of the SMC Equal Opportunity Office, accepts the FEB Partnership award on the STEM-Diversity Group’s behalf, May 8.  (Photo by Sarah Corrice)

Leonard Gonzales, director of the SMC Equal Opportunity Office, accepts the FEB Partnership award on the STEM-Diversity Group’s behalf, May 8. (Photo by Sarah Corrice)

The Military Satellite Communications Engineering Division is recognized by the Federal Executive Board with a Partnership Award, May 8. The division was cited for its partnerships in providing communications for approximately 16,000 aircraft, ships, mobile and fixed sites. (Photo by Sarah Corrice)

The Military Satellite Communications Engineering Division is recognized by the Federal Executive Board with a Partnership Award, May 8. The division was cited for its partnerships in providing communications for approximately 16,000 aircraft, ships, mobile and fixed sites. (Photo by Sarah Corrice)

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Space and Missile Systems Center's STEM-Diversity Outreach Group won the Greater Los Angeles Federal Executive Board Public Service Partnership Award, receiving recognition for its exemplary demonstration of partnership through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education efforts. Leonard Gonzales, director of the SMC Equal Opportunity Office, accepted the award on the Group's behalf at a ceremony held at Los Angeles Air Force Base, May 8.

At the same ceremony, John Morris, chief of SMC's Military Satellite Communications Engineering Division, accepted the FEB Public Service Partnership Award on behalf of the MCE team, which received recognition for its partnerships in providing communications for approximately 16,000 aircraft, ships, mobile and fixed sites.

Both awards were presented in conjunction with Public Service Recognition Week, an annual event that honors men and women working in government.

During the past year, SMC's STEM-Diversity Outreach Group has been part of numerous collaborative efforts, reaching hundreds of students and teachers at elementary schools, high schools and colleges.

"We share this honor with our partners, without whom this award would not have been possible. The Air Force Research Laboratory, California State University of Long Beach, California State University of Dominguez Hills and the El Segundo School District worked with us side-by-side to educate our youth about the possibilities available to them in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields," said Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, SMC commander.

SMC partnered with the California STEM Focus Organization, Air Force Research Laboratory and the Aerospace Corporation to bring a Virtual Reality Academy to middle and high school students throughout the state. The center sponsored 15 teams of students exploring science within a virtual world environment.

SMC also partnered with California State University Long Beach and AFRL to sponsor a STEM teacher boot camp. Thirty-four teachers from across Los Angeles and Orange counties completed the camp, which provided the teachers with new teaching materials and assistance in developing science curriculum.

Closer to home, volunteers from SMC organized two STEM nights at Richmond Street and Center Street elementary schools in El Segundo, Calif. Volunteers helped students design an insect trap as well as build mint mobile vehicles to test mass and friction. Due to the overwhelming success of the events held this year, the school district wants to make STEM nights part of its annual program.

General Pawlikowski said in closing, "Through continued partnerships, we can ensure our youth receive the quality education and guidance they need to lead our nation for the years to come. Thank you once again for this great honor."