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“We started in Arizona in 2007, and we had a lot of people asking for another training center,” said Wink Bennet, Readiness Product Line Lead with AFRL. “This program is great because our program normally (runs) only in the summer, but now students can access this technology year-round in school.”
Robin Fisher has been superintendent of the Dayton Regional STEM School for 10 years and says the GRILL will offer new opportunities for students to gain exposure in the STEM career force.
“Students will get to interact with scientists and STEM professionals,” Fisher said. “This will only further the STEM footprint and be really beneficial for the kids.”
Jessica Short, high school principal at the STEM School, expects to see more interest by potential students. “It has been a long time coming and this is a really unique partnership,” she said. “It is extremely positive for the school and because of that, I think admission will rise.”
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The GRILL is equipped with several dozen computers where students can work on gaming software, participate in Air Force simulations, and other programs.
“It will mean great things for the next generation,” Bennet said. “Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”
However, Wright Scholar Nathan Smearsoll, 18, says that it is not just about the games.
“These games are extremely refined,” Smearsoll said. “They are used for training soldiers, amongst other things. We’re trying to bridge the gap between games and the workforce. It is very cool.”