STEM Exhibits at Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show and Open House Published Sept. 3, 2021 By Staff Sgt. Victoria Nelson 157th ARW PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- Cutting-edge fighter jets, lasers, bomb-disposing robots, unmanned aerial vehicles. These are just a few of the futuristic technologies today’s Airmen work with every day. To inspire the Airmen of tomorrow, the Thunder Over New Hampshire Open House and Air Show, scheduled for Sept. 11-12 at Pease Air National Guard Base, will feature a large Science, Technology, Engineering and Math exhibition. As part of that exhibit, FIRST New Hampshire will showcase their K-12 robotics programs. According to Ken St. Hilaire, a senior mentor with FIRST New Hampshire, student teamwork, problem solving and communication will be on display at the FIRST exhibits, which will include two basketball court-sized competition fields with live robot matches, robot demonstrations, robot driving opportunities for the public, and LEGO League challenge tables. “While FIRST is at its core a robotics community, the robot is simply the vehicle that binds together all of the core values we seek to instill in our FIRST students,” said St. Hilaire. “With the air show, we hope to demonstrate how much fun and rewarding STEM can be.” 1st Lt. Richard Lambert, the air show STEM coordinator, said this exhibit provides exposure to the diversity of science and technology in a way that’s accessible to young students. “I am most excited to see the ingenuity of the participants,” Lambert said. “These programs help students think critically and creatively. It amazes me how many different responses and creations you see when they compete against each other.” St. Hilaire explained that the programs are as student run as they can be. When spectators ask questions they will talk more with the students than adults. “It’s what makes the program special,” he added. “Though the students are young, they are so capable.” At the air show, St. Hilaire said he hopes their exhibits will inspire other young learners to understand what FIRST is all about. “FIRST alumni from New Hampshire have gone on to become Navy pilots, engineers with NASA, SpaceX, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and more,” he said. “Some of our best success stories though are found in students who find a pathway and connection to a career that they otherwise would not have discovered or students who simply find a place where they feel they belong.” For more information check out www.firstnh.org.