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2022 FedEx AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Symposium Presented by Boeing

Nov. 13-15, 2022
The Peabody
Memphis, TN




Each year, the AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Symposium brings dedicated educators from around the nation for two full days of sharing insights, ideas, and best practices for starting and building aviation STEM programs.

This is the ONLY high school symposium in the nation that specifically targets aviation and aerospace content.

Pilots, drone operators, aerospace engineers, scientists, technologists, and technicians will always be in demand. Despite the impact of the pandemic, forecasts continue to project shortfalls over the next twenty years as a result of an aging workforce.

The AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Symposium is an excellent opportunity for educators and administrators to discover how they can prepare students for success in these exciting and well-paying careers.

Why Attend?

Learn from the experts in aviation education. Join us for two full days of breakout sessions, industry tours, and networking opportunities you will not want to miss.

The AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Symposium is your chance to get to know the leaders in the field. Our speakers come with a wealth of experience in education, aviation, aerospace, and more. They will share lessons learned and provide fresh ideas to take back to your classrooms. Breakout sessions are designed to help you get the most out of your experience, whether you’re interested in starting an aviation program, adding aviation content to STEM classes, or enhancing an existing aviation initiative at your school.

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  • Welcome and introductory remarks from AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker
  • The future of aviation and aerospace workforce discussion with FAA Deputy Administrator Bradley Mims and AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Advocacy Jim Coon
  • Special guest appearance by Dierks Bentley, country singer and songwriter, pilot, aircraft owner, and AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Champion
  • A salute to the pioneering teachers who field tested the AOPA Foundation Curriculum
  • A special segment on scholarships just for high school students and teachers
  • Live, interactive segments including audience polls and questions


From High School to the Flight Deck: Airline Cadet Programs

What is the quickest way for a high school student to earn a seat on the flight deck of an airliner? Join representatives from three airline cadet programs—American Airlines Cadet Academy, Southwest Airlines Destination 225°, and United Airlines Aviate Academy—as they discuss their direct pathways from high school to professional pilot careers. Find out what these programs have in common and what makes each program unique. Gain insight into how to help your students land a slot in one of these coveted aviation career programs.

Curriculum Overview

Take an in-depth look at the courses that make up the AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Curriculum. You'll learn directly from the curriculum developers about the topics, hands-on engineering projects, and key learning outcomes embedded in the curriculum. See first-hand how the courses are structured and sequenced to provide rich STEM education and aviation career and technical education experiences that prepare students for careers in piloting, drone operations, and other aviation professions.

Plan, Pitch, and Apply: Starting an Aviation Program

You want to start an aviation program at your high school. But where do you begin? What are the steps to plan for, present, gain approval, and launch a high school aviation program? Our AOPA Foundation high school outreach experts will explore all aspects of aviation program development, from initial vision and mission creation to strategic planning. Learn how to develop local partnerships and navigate through state educational regulations. The team will share best practices for building district and community support for an aviation program and how to pitch your plan to your local school board. The session ends with a review of the AOPA Foundation high school application and initial professional development processes.

Enhancing Your Aviation Program

What does it take to grow a fledgling program into an aviation education powerhouse? This session will follow the journey of the Morris Hills Regional District in Rockaway, NJ, from its humble beginnings at the 2019 STEM Symposium to a multi-school district-wide aviation program. Gain insight into best practices for growing an aviation program from multiple stakeholder groups, including school and district administrators, classroom teachers, industry supporters, and state-level Civil Air Patrol leaders. Meet program graduates who are now pursuing pilot careers in collegiate aviation programs.

Fit to Fly? FAA Medical Certification and High School Students

Do you have to be in perfect health to be a pilot? What are the medical requirements? What if you need medication? Are there any disqualifying medical diagnoses? Help your students navigate their options with the answers to these questions and more. In this session, an AOPA medical certification expert will delve deep into the process of obtaining medical certificates, potential obstacles for high school students, and strategies for overcoming disqualification and seeking special issuance. Topics will include classes of medical certificates, flying limitations and privileges associated with each class, scope of exam for each class, the do's and don'ts of the medical certification process, medical conditions and medications, and tips for obtaining special issuances.

Getting the Most from a Drone Program

Drones are cool. Drones are "in." But how do you make a drone classroom work? In this common-sense, practical session, you'll hear directly from veteran classroom teachers and the AOPA Foundation's resident remote pilot and drone curriculum expert, Michael Hangartner, about topics like drone selection, accessories worth having on hand, drone maintenance, classroom and materials management, and drone lab safety. Learn how to avoid common safety and management pitfalls and ensure that your drone program takes off on day one!

Maximizing the Math and Science

Aviation might not be rocket science, but it is full of math and science. The AOPA Foundation Curriculum is a rich and invaluable resource for teaching aviation to high school students, but beyond the aviation themes, the curriculum is loaded with math and science treasures. While many students abhor traditional math word problems, the desire to fly offers a prime motivation to develop required math and science skills through real-world problem solving. Spend some time with one of AOPA's most experienced Curriculum classroom teachers and his students as they explore and demonstrate the math and science treasures embedded in the curriculum.

Get 'Em Flying: Starting a High School Flying Club

Join Jamie Beckett, AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Ambassador for Florida, as he shows you how to start a flying club for high school students. Learn what steps to take, from creating an organization to finding affordable space to obtaining donated tools, equipment, and even aircraft. Hear from students, airport officials, community leaders, and others who have helped launch and grow clubs that give high school students hands-on aviation experiences, from building and repairing aircraft to flying in them.

Beyond the Flight Deck: Exploring Aviation Careers

Would you rather fly a police helicopter or a corporate jet? Do you prefer fixing airplanes rather than flying them? Maybe a job as an air traffic controller is for you. Or perhaps you'd like to manage a bustling airport. There's a lot more to aviation than being a pilot. Discover careers beyond the airline flight deck as you explore a busy general aviation airport.



Sunday, November 14, 2021

  • 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Symposium Registration Open
  • 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Exhibit Area Open
  • 5:00 p.m. - ...Networking Hour

*Agenda subject to change.


Monday, November 15, 2021

  • 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
    Symposium Registration Open
  • 7:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
  • Various Times
    Exhibit Area Open
  • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    Opening General Session, Breakout Session, and Networking Break(s)
  • 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    General Session, Breakout Session, and Networking Break(s)
  • 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

*Agenda subject to change.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

  • 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
    Symposium Registration Open
  • 7:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.
  • Various Times
    Exhibit Area Open
  • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    General Session, Breakout Session, and Networking Break(s)
  • 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    General Session and 2022 Symposium Announcement
  • 2:30 p.m.
    Symposium Ends

*Agenda subject to change.

Hotel Information

Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport

Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport

9300 Jeff Fuqua Boulevard
Orlando, FL, 32827

Hotel Registration Now Open

AOPA has reserved a block of rooms at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport (9300 Jeff Fuqua Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32827) from November 13 through 17, 2021 at a special group rate. Make your reservations now to guarantee your room rate. 

Please note: The Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport is conveniently located within the Orlando International Airport (MCO). Ground transportation will not be required if you choose to stay at the symposium hotel and fly into MCO.

Hotel Registration


Disney Special Offer

To purchase specially priced Disney Meeting/Convention Theme Park tickets, please call 407-566-5600 or CLICK HERE. Tickets are valid 7 days pre, during, and 7 days post meeting dates. Please note the cut-off date for advanced purchase savings is November 14, 2021.

Walt Disney World. CLICK HERE For Special Ticket Offers

Symposium Registration 

  • Admission Three Days of Activities and SessionsAdmission to the entire symposium and attendance to all education sessions, exhibit area, and networking opportunities. Tours are an additional cost.
  • Networking NetworkingThere are many opportunities to network with your peers from Sunday through Tuesday. Mingle with colleagues at our Monday evening happy hour in the exhibit hall.
  • MealsBreakfast and lunch are included on Monday and Tuesday of the symposium, and a happy hour is included on Monday evening!

Information about pre-conference tours will be available soon.



    Through Sept. 15

    Register Now
  • $300

    Beginning September 15

CANCELLATION POLICY: All cancellations are required to be made in writing for any applicable refund to be processed. No refund will be provided for cancellations received after Friday, October 15, 2021.



Stevie Triesenberg

Social Media Influencer (@PlaneGirl) 
Commercial Pilot & CFI

Commercial pilot and CFI Stevie Triesenberg is inspiring the next generation of pilots through her social media content. She spends much of her free time flying her 1952 Beechcraft C35 Bonanza and sharing her flights with her more than one million social media followers. She goes by @planegirl on TikTok and @bayflight on Instagram. When Stevie was in high school, she saw a photo of someone with a small airplane on her Instagram explore page. She had no idea that small airplanes even existed and never thought she could go learn to fly. Learning to fly was always in the back of her head until the summer of 2018. She had an engineering internship that allowed her to fund her training and decided to give it a go. Stevie fell in love with flying, and the rest is history. When she’s not flying, she works full-time as a mobile software engineer.


Our Lineup of Speakers Includes:

Bradley Mims
Deputy Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration

Captain Andrew LaSusa
Manager, Aviate and Pilot Recruiting, United Airlines

Dierks Bentley
Singer, Songwriter, and AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Champion

Jim Coon
Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Advocacy, AOPA

Jacquie Brown
Senior Medical Certification Specialist, AOPA

Thomas Eaton
Coordinator, High School Initiative, AOPA Foundation

Michael Hangartner
Senior Manager of Curriculum Development, AOPA Foundation

Joseph Konopinski
AOPA Foundation Curriculum Teacher, Morris Hills (NJ) High School

Laura Malbec
AOPA Foundation Curriculum Teacher, Morris Knolls (NJ) High School

Martha Fundora
AOPA Foundation Curriculum Teacher, Morris Knolls (NJ) High School

Dr. Nisha Zoller
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Morris Hills (NJ) Regional District

Dr. Kevin Doyle
District Supervisor of Instruction/Science, Morris Hills (NJ) Regional District

Lt. Col. Michael Castania
New Jersey Wing Director of Aerospace Education, Civil Air Patrol

And more to come.

Bradley Mims

Deputy Administrator, FAA
In February 2021, Bradley Mims assumed his current position as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator. Mims has served as a transportation professional in government and the private sector for over 40 years. As a government relations specialist with a multi-modal transportation background, Mims holds a special affinity for the aviation industry. In addition to working for a number of firms and organizations related to transportation/aviation, Mims served as the head of government relations for the FAA during the Clinton Administration. He served as a transportation staffer for members of Congress in his early career (representing Congressman John Lewis—GA and Julian Dixon—CA). Mims has also served as a congressional liaison for the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Between 2001-2005, Mims served as a transportation specialist at Booz Allen Hamilton. In 2005, Mims joined Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., serving as the Aviation Markets Vice President until 2010. As an appointee of the governor of Maryland, Mims joined the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority Board of Directors in 2014 and has served as the co-chair of the Dulles Corridor and Finance Committees, as well as chair of the Nominations Committee. In addition, Mims served as the transportation subject matter expert with Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) from 2014-2016. Prior to his appointment at the FAA, Mims served as the President/CEO of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) from 2016-2021. He graduated from Allegheny College with a bachelor's degree in political science.

Mark Baker

President, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Mark R. Baker joined AOPA in 2013 as president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest civil aviation organization. A native Minnesotan, Baker earned his pilot certificate in his twenties and has logged more than 10,000 hours of flight time in aircraft ranging from light seaplanes to turbines and helicopters. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Baker has served on numerous corporate boards and has taken leadership roles with several nonprofit organizations. Before his appointment at AOPA, Baker served in numerous senior executive roles, including CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corporation, a leading retailer of home improvement and garden products. Baker also served in senior executive roles at Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Gander Mountain Company, and The Home Depot. Earlier in his career, he also worked for HomeBase, Scotty's Home Improvement Centers, and Knox Hardware and Lumber. In conjunction with his role as president and CEO of AOPA, Baker is chairman of AOPA's Political Action Committee; chief executive officer for the AOPA Foundation; president of the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations, representing pilots in 81 countries; and publisher of AOPA Pilot, the world's largest and most influential aviation publication.

Jim Coon

Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Advocacy, AOPA
As the Senior Vice president of Government Affairs and Advocacy, Jim Coon is responsible for the implementation of AOPA's political, legislative, and regulatory initiatives before Congress, federal agencies, and state legislatures. He has more than three decades of experience working with Congress and the aviation industry. Coon has held the role of staff director for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and majority staff director for the House aviation subcommittee. He has also served in leadership roles for the National Air Transportation Association, The Boeing Company, and the Air Transport Association (now A4A).

Dierks Bentley

Singer, Songwriter, AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Champion
Dierks Bentley – award-winning singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, restauranteur, and, yes, enthusiastic pilot. Dierks continues to be a dominant voice in today's music scene, with more than 6.4 billion digital streams. He has amassed more than 50 nominations from the Academy of Country Music, Country Music Association, and Billboard Music with 14 Grammy nominations. Capacity crowds always follow Dierks's headlining runs, most recently his 2019 Burning Man Tour and his three-day Seven Peaks Festival in Buena Vista, Colorado. Dierks has an instrument rating with more than 4,000 hours in his logbook and a type rating in the Cessna 525. He cites his favorite airplane as the 1946 Piper floatplane in the video for his hit "Say You Do."

Brad Morrison

Manager of Pilot Career Recruiting, American Airlines
Currently the Manager of Pilot Career Recruiting at American Airlines, Brad has a passion for helping raise up the next generation of future pilots. His path in aviation started more than two decades ago when he took his first flight in a Piper Cherokee with his father and was immediately "bitten" by the flying bug. Since then, his journey has led him through various positions, from Flight Instructor, to Chief Pilot, to Flight School Director. In his current role at American Airlines, Brad is deeply involved with the American Airlines Cadet Academy, aimed at growing and diversifying the pilot population and opening up the world of aviation to young people who may never have considered this exciting career field.

Captain Dave Retnam

Senior Manager, Flight Operations and Chief Pilot, Southwest Airlines
Captain Dave Retnam is the Senior Manager of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot of Southwest Airlines; he has held those positions since 2016 and 2014, respectively. Dave's responsibilities include pilot hiring, mentorship and leadership development, Destination 225° Pilot Pathways Program, crew hotels, military affairs, security programs, and Southwest's Compassionate Care Programs. He earned positions as First Officer for Southwest in 2001 and as Captain in 2008. Prior to working at Southwest Airlines, he was a corporate and Part 135 pilot. Dave was also a flight instructor and manager of a flight school and FBO. He is a graduate of Mountain View College & Dallas Baptist University.

Captain Mary Ann Schaffer

Managing Director - System Chief Pilot and Washington, D.C. Base Chief, United Airlines
Captain Mary Ann Schaffer is the Managing Director – System Chief Pilot and serves in the Base Chief Pilot role for Washington. She oversees and supports United's eight pilot bases, works with Flight Standards and Flight Training on pilot qualifications and the line check airmen program. Mary Ann joined United Airlines over 32 years ago. Her recent roles include B737 Captain and Job Share Evaluator, LCA, FSAP ERC Management Representative, Technical Skills Evaluator for Pilot Hiring, and LOSA observer. She previously served as Flight Manager and as a Flight Operations Duty Manager. She has been a flight instructor, and was an electrical engineer for a Department of Defense contractor. Captain Schaffer holds a Juris Doctor from Washington College. She also has a Master of Aeronautical Science in Aviation Safety, and a Bachelor of Engineering.

Elizabeth Tennyson

Senior Vice President, AOPA Foundation You Can Fly
As the Senior Vice President of the AOPA Foundation, Elizabeth leads the Foundation's efforts by championing its safety and educational initiatives. She first joined AOPA in 1998, holding positions that included managing editor of Flight Training magazine, executive editor of AOPA Pilot magazine, vice president of publications, vice president of eMedia, and senior director of communications. Elizabeth serves on the boards of the Aerospace Center for Excellence and the Aviation Accreditation Board International and the Board of Advisors for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. A native of California, Elizabeth holds degrees in Broadcast Journalism and International Relations and an MBA. She started flying in 1997 and is an instrument-rated private pilot and a hang glider pilot.
Tom Haines portrait

Tom Haines

Senior Vice President/Editor in Chief, AOPA Publications
Tom Haines is the Editor in Chief and Senior Vice President of Media, Communications, and Outeach. He manages a staff of 35 writers, editors, graphic artists, photographers, videographers, event planners, communications experts, and support personnel. Tom has a commercial pilot certificate with multiengine, instrument, and seaplane ratings, and holds type ratings in the Eclipse 500 and Cessna CJ business jets and has a second-in-command type rating in the North American B-25 Mitchell. He owns a Beech A36 Bonanza. Haines oversees the publication of AOPA Pilot magazine; Flight Training magazine; the weekly AOPA ePilot electronic newsletter; the Flight Training edition of ePilot, AOPA Online; and the association's video-on-demand channel, AOPA Live.

Dr. Nisha Zoeller, D.Litt.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, Morris Hills Regional District
Dr. Nisha Zoeller is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at the Morris Hills Regional District in Rockaway, NJ. She has been a public school educator for over twenty years as a secondary teacher, counselor, and school/district administrator. Dr. Zoeller also teaches at Kean University in the Nathan Weiss Graduate School of Education and supervises field placements for college students entering the teaching profession. She is dedicated to providing a wide range of experiences and opportunities to all students as they pursue their educational goals.

Kevin S. Doyle, Ed.D.

District Supervisor of Science, Morris Hills Regional District
Dr. Doyle is a veteran educator with 28 years of experience in education, the last 11 as the District Supervisor of Science at the Morris Hills Regional District in New Jersey. He is the coordinator of the Math & Science Magnet Program and the coordinator of the Aviation & Aerospace Program for the District. Dr. Doyle received his B.S. in Physics from Seton Hall University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment from Walden University, an M.S. in Educational Leadership from New England College, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Rutgers University.

Marty Fundora

Teacher, Morris Knolls High School
Marty Fundora is a physics teacher at Morris Knolls High School. She teaches Intro to Flight & UAS and courses at the Advanced Placement level (AP Physics I) and the Science and Mathematics Magnet Program (Research-Based Analysis). She began her career in education eight years ago after working as a marine and wetlands field biologist. Marty graduated from Florida International University in Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She earned two master's degrees in New Jersey: a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from St. Peter's University and a Master of Science degree from the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning in Physics Education.

Joseph Konopinski

Teacher, Morris Hills High School
Joseph Konopinski is a science teacher at Morris Hills Regional School District in Rockaway, New Jersey, teaching AP Physics 1 and the school's third-year aviation course, Intro to Flight Planning and UAS Operations. Joseph began his career at MHRD in 2017. In 2018, he began teaching the AOPA Foundation’s curriculum within his school district. In October of 2018, he began flight training. He also won two scholarships through the AOPA Foundation and is close to completing his private pilot certificate. To date, Joseph has taught the first three years of the AOPA Foundation Curriculum.

Gene Poole

Math and Aviation Teacher, United Christian Academy
Gene Poole has taught math at United Christian Academy in Bloomington, Minnesota for seven years and is beginning his 4th year teaching the AOPA Foundation Curriculum. Gene's interest in aviation and aerospace began watching the space race to the moon. He joined the Air Force after high school, and studied mathematics education in college. Graduate school led to employment at NASA Langley Research Center in high performance and parallel computing. In 1991, a job with Cray Research led to a move to Minnesota, and 15 years in the engineering software industry. Last year, Gene became a pilot after receiving an AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Teacher Flight Training Scholarship. He is an active member of EAA and Civil Air Patrol.

Michael Doddo

Teacher, Hereford High School
Michael Doddo teaches Principles of Aviation, Private Pilot, Engineering Design, and Engineering Tech at Hereford High School in Hereford, MD. He has 36 years of teaching experience at both middle school and high school levels. It is currently his 17th year at Hereford where—in addition to teaching—he is the Robotics, National Honor Society, Society of Women Engineers, and Engineering Club sponsor. Michael’s interest in aviation started as an extension of robotics when he noticed the amount of student interest in drones. A Baltimore County grant allowed him to begin an Aviation and Aerospace program at Hereford. Since then, he has worked to help students obtain their goals to become pilots or aerospace engineers.

Jacquie Brown

Sr. Medical Certification Specialist, AOPA Pilot Information Center
Jacquie Brown is a Senior Medical Certification Specialist at AOPA and has assisted the organization's members for 17 years. In her role within the Medical Certification Department, she answers members' medical questions, troubleshoots potential and current certification issues, and answers questions on BasicMed. Jacquie enjoys doing anything outdoors when not at work and spends much of her time training dogs. She currently has three Jack Russel Terriers and a White German Shepherd—which she hopes might one day become a therapy dog.

Jamie Beckett

Ambassador, AOPA Foundation You Can Fly
Jamie Beckett is the AOPA Foundation You Can Fly Ambassador for Florida. He is responsible for promoting and growing AOPA's pilot community development programs, including Flying Clubs Initiative, Flight Training Initiative, Rusty Pilots program, and Reimagined Aircraft. Jamie's preferred mode of transportation is a bright yellow and black Reimagined Cessna 152, which he often refers to as his company car. Jamie holds commercial land and sea ratings for airplanes, as well as instrument and multi-engine instructor ratings. An A&P mechanic with a penchant for the classics and a frequent contributor to a wide variety of aviation publications, Jamie's passion for general aviation is truly infectious.

Michael Hangartner

Sr. Manager, Curriculum Development, AOPA Foundation You Can Fly
As Sr. Manager, Curriculum Development, Michael works with other AOPA Foundation curriculum team members to plan and write the organization's High School Aviation STEM Curriculum. A certificated Remote Pilot, he has played a particularly active role in creating the curriculum's UAS pathway. Michael earned a bachelor's degree in Business Economics and an MBA and joined AOPA in 2014 as Financial Analyst. Since that time, he has worked as a Research Analyst and the Manager of AOPA's Flying Club Initiative— while also earning a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Lasell University. Michael has been flying since 2011, and is an instrument-rated commercial pilot who enjoys flying both airplanes and helicopters, albeit at different times. He is also an Advanced Ground Instructor.

Glenn Ponas

Director, High School Outreach, AOPA Foundation You Can Fly
Glenn Ponas is responsible for providing programmatic, management, and fiscal oversight of the AOPA Foundation's High School initiative, and leading the AOPA Foundation's effort to expand the implementation of its Aviation STEM Curriculum. Glenn has thirty-one years of experience as a secondary teacher, administrator, and curriculum development specialist. In 2002, he founded the Pittsburgh Gifted Center Aviation Program, introducing over 3,000 students to aviation. He is an FAA certificated private pilot and remote pilot. In 2005, Glenn co-founded Frameworks Information Technology, Inc., a web-based data visualization and GIS analysis company. He was also an educational data systems consultant to state and federal governments.

Erik Yates

Director, Curriculum Development, AOPA Foundation You Can Fly
Erik is the Director of Curriculum Development for the High School Initiative at the AOPA Foundation. Erik joined the You Can Fly team after 25 years in education as a STEM supervisor, technology curriculum coordinator, teacher trainer, and classroom teacher from elementary school through high school physics. He was the Program Director for the Global Learning nonprofit organization in New Jersey. Erik has inspired his students with aviation-themed lessons while teaching in places as diverse as Tianjin, China; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Chatham, New Jersey. A 3,500-hour ATP certificated pilot, Erik earned his private pilot, CFII, and MEII credentials in high school and college before instructing full time and completing his master's degree in Education.

Download Sponsor and Exhibitor Prospectus


COVID-19 Safety

The AOPA Foundation is actively monitoring the incidence of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have been asked how COVID-19 may impact the upcoming AOPA Foundation High School STEM Symposium. The AOPA Foundation will meet or exceed all local, state, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements regarding large gatherings and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

At this time, our upcoming AOPA Foundation High School STEM Symposium will take place as planned, in person and virtually. If you are sick or feel you are getting sick, we ask that you please stay home. The CDC recommends that people in high-risk groups consult with their healthcare provider about attending any large gathering. If you decide not to attend in person, we encourage you to attend virtually!



Title Sponsor


Presenting Sponsor


General Sponsor

California Aeronautical University

California Aeronautical University (CAU) is a world-class training facility connected to Bakersfield International Airport in beautiful Southern California where students live, eat, and breathe aviation. The University offers aviation-related degree programs and training for students seeking careers as professional pilots and aviation business professionals. In this immersive aviation environment, CAU students gain valuable experience you just can’t get from off-airport instruction. Students also benefit from CAU’s growing relationships with industry partners, which can provide a direct pathway to a professional aviation career. Financial aid and scholarships are available to those who qualify. Tour the campus at


Check back often for updates. Exhibitors include, but will not be limited to:

  • Aviation Supplies and Academics, Inc. (ASA)
  • Boeing
  • California Aeronautical University
  • Gleim Aviation
  • Redbird Flight Simulations, Inc.
  • University Aviation Association
  • Unmanned Safety Institute
  • Western Michigan University – College of Aviation