Momentum Member Spotlight – September 2011
AIAA Congratulates William P. "Billy" Crisler
By: Duane Hyland, AIAA Communications
AIAA has selected Dr. William P. “Billy” Crisler, Lt. Col. United States Air Force (Retired) for its Member Spotlight for September 2011. Dr. Crisler is a professor in the Aeronautics Department of the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., and director of the Academy’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Outreach Center. In recognition of his efforts to promote STEM education, Crisler was the recipient of the 2011 Federal Laboratory Consortium’s Mid-Continent Region’s STEM Mentorship Award.
In an article written by David Edwards of the United States Air Force public affairs division, Col. Brent Richert, the Air Force Academy’s Chief Scientist, praised Crisler, “calling Crisler the ‘driving force behind establishing a funded outreach (STEM) outreach program at the Academy.’ Richert went on to say, in Edwards’ article, that Crisler’s “‘enterprise level planning and coordination (have) brought government, industry, and education partners together to kindle the fire of interest…for elementary through high school students in Southern Colorado.’” According to Edwards, under Crisler’s direction the Academy’s STEM Outreach Center has received over “$600,000 in federal funding to support projects that inspire interest in STEM subjects at the grass-roots level.” Among those projects, according to Crisler, are “STEM boot camps for local teachers, and a plethora of other activities like the Academy’s ‘in demand Chemistry Magic Show, which has made rock stars out of Professor Ron Furstenau and his colleagues.”
When asked about Crisler’s efforts to promote STEM and direct the K-12 STEM Outreach Center, Col. Neal Barlow, Chair of the United States Air Force Academy’s Engineering Division, and Vice President of Education for AIAA, stated: “As a result of Dr Billy Crisler’s outstanding leadership at the United States Air Force Academy, I was pleased to announce in May the commissioning of the USAFA K-12 STEM Outreach Center. Dr Crisler’s vision is to provide local solutions to our National STEM needs. By matching local resources, STEM partners, with local school’s needs, the Center has already impacted hundreds of teachers and future engineers via a myriad of STEM workshop and resource opportunities. I’m also proud to say AIAA’s outstanding K-12 STEM Outreach program lead by Elana Slagle and Lisa Bacon are an important part of the team. The Air Force Academy and AIAA are extremely proud of Dr Billy Crisler and his center’s outreach activities.”
In Edward’s article, Crisler notes that “the excitement (students) feel once they discover that STEM is interesting and that they can do it is the same, regardless of age.” Crisler pointed out to Edwards that before he joined the Air Force, he was a high school math teacher, a pas that makes him acutely aware of the barriers that STEM education faces in today’s schools. When asked about his future plans, in Edwards’ article’ Crisler noted that he enjoys both being a professor and running the STEM Outreach Center, stating “The ideal is for me to remain half and half, running the STEM Center and teaching aircraft design.” Crisler continued “Teaching here keeps me in touch with the technical side of things and validates my credentials with the people I’m trying to build teams with.”
AIAA congratulates Dr. Crisler for his many contributions to the promotion of STEM K-12 education, his efforts to help develop the next generation of the Aerospace workforce, and his selection as the AIAA member spotlight for August 2011.