Welcome: Ms. Samantha Cotton - Flowers High School–STEM Coordinator
Purpose: Mr. Clarence Johnson - Director, Office of Diversity Mgmt. and Equal Opportunity
Introduction of Captain Irving: Mr. John Hairston – NASA Education (Retired)
Presentation: Captain Barrington Irving – The Flying Classroom
Closing: Ms. Charmane Johnson - Director, DoD Policy for Special Emphasis Programs
The Department of Defense supports the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity (ODMEO) at the US Pentagon. ODMEO recognizes that the changing face of the Nation demands that we change. As the demographic makeup of the American population continues to evolve, it is imperative that the Department of Defense focus its efforts on emerging talent to ensure we successfully attract, recruit, develop and retain a highly-skilled Total Force capable of meeting current and future mission requirements.
ODMEO has an objective to develop services to pursue a broader approach to diversity that includes the range of backgrounds, skill sets, and personal attributes that are necessary to enhancing civilian and military performance.
Our staffing pipeline begins with “Young Leaders” who are well prepared and well informed of opportunities and support through the Department of Defense. The “Young Leaders” project can increase the quantity and quality of potential DoD staff from underrepresented youth. DoD is looking for more than mere employees. DoD wants a well prepared and diverse workforce. The focus of the “Young Leaders” project is centered around STEM knowledge and experiences due to the projected staffing needs of DoD.
DoD welcomes youth, teachers, administrators and subject matter experts to support this effort.
Captain Barrington Irving has traveled to 50 countries, conducted over 30 STEM expeditions, successfully challenged middle school students to build a car faster than a Ferrari 430, and had high schoolers build a plane he flew on its test flight. In 2007, he set two world records—at age 23—as the youngest person and first black pilot to fly solo around the world. He has a passion to explore, inspire, and educate others. Now 32, Barrington is transforming the way students learn STEM by engaging them in problem-solving activities that enable them to overcome new challenges.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica and brought up in inner-city Miami, Barrington was inspired to pursue aviation at age 15, when a Jamaican airline pilot offered to mentor him. He rejected college football scholarships to pursue a career in STEM and never looked back.
Barrington believes that students learn the most from powerful experiences they can relate to the real world. In 2014, he launched the Flying Classroom Curriculum for elementary and middle school students to help them answer the question, “When will I ever use what I learned in school in my real life?” The Flying Classroom conducts expeditions each year that allow students to “virtually” follow and learn about STEM, with the goal of giving them a meaningful experience.
How do you teach students about the digestive system? Barrington swallows the innovative camera pill that takes students on a virtual tour through the system that science had no access to before. How can you teach the topic of regenerative medicine? The Flying Classroom assists teachers by partnering with Dr. Anthony Atala, the man who discovered how to 3-D print a kidney and a liver. And how do you show students how to balance an ecosystem? Barrington and his Flying Classroom traveled to Darwin, Australia to discover, and share, how the deadly Cane Toad population can be controlled. These hands-on experiences make it easy to learn, explore, and innovate.
Before founding the Flying Classroom, Barrington created a nonprofit, Experience Aviation, which continues to offer hands-on, STEM-based programs and career guidance to middle and high school students in Florida, Texas, and Georgia.
A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida Memorial University, Barrington was the recipient of a Congressional Resolution acknowledging his pioneering work in aviation education. He received the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world and was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2012.