Butler County Times Gazette
  • Fundraiser to help girls go to space camp

  • Stearman Field Bar and Grill in Benton is located at an airport, which makes it the perfect backdrop for a fundraising event to help send local low-income girls, who are involved in Future Women in A-STEM (Aviation, Science, Technology, Engineerin, and Math), to space camp.
    • email print
  • Stearman Field Bar and Grill in Benton is located at an airport, which makes it the perfect backdrop for a fundraising event to help send local low-income girls, who are involved in Future Women in A-STEM (Aviation, Science, Technology, Engineerin, and Math), to space camp.
    The featured speaker at the event will be Charles “Sam” Gemar, former NASA astronaut and lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. During his time with NASA, Sam held many different positions, all supporting the Space Shuttle program, and had the opportunity to be a crew member on three Shuttle Missions. Additionally, journalist Molly McMillin will be honored for her involvement and promotion of aviation in Wichita and the surrounding area.
    The yearly event is organized by the Women in Aviation Air Capital Chapter (WAI). WAI became official in May of 2012 and has since made it a goal to send local, low-income girls to space camp at the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. The number has increase from 15 girls in 2012 to 40 girls this year.
    “Many local women developed their first love of aviation as girls by attending space camp,” said Kathleen Webb, outreach chair for WAI. “That includes the WAI president, Robin Laws, and many of the other ladies in our organization.”
    Space camp isn’t cheap at $180 per child for the two-day event, but Webb said if it encourages girls to reach for the stars, it is worth every cent.
    “There are many obstacles for women on these career paths,” said Webb. “I want to help low income girls realize their dreams.”
    Webb said it is important to encourage young girls to pursue STEM careers because that is where the money is. A recent study, done by the Brookings Institution, showed Wichita metropolitan area has 56,100 STEM jobs which is over 21 percent of all local jobs. The study also shows the average annual pay in the area for STEM jobs is $60,249, compared to $33,827 for non-STEM jobs.
    The Brookings Institution also ranks this area as 22nd out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas for the percentage of jobs it has involving STEM. It is also important to note while women earn an average of 75 cents for each dollar their male counterparts earn in most fields, women in STEM careers earn 92 cents to the dollar.
    This fundraiser to send girls to space camp will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Stearman Field Bar and Grill, 14789 SW 30th St., Benton, and will include dinner, auction and cash bar.
    The cost to attend is $60 per person or $100 per couple and tickets can be purchased on their Web site at www.aircapitalcitywai.org.
      • calendar