7th Annual U.S. Air Force / FIRST® Leadership Experience for FIRST Teachers & Mentors

The U.S. Air Force develops leaders of remarkable character and vision. For the 7th year, the U.S. Air Force is offering a unique three-day leadership program providing FIRST mentors with hands on leadership training taught by Air Force personnel.

Throughout the three-day experience, mentors will attend lectures, take part in team building exercises, and tour a local Air Force Base. The Air Force will select a group of 24 teachers and mentors from FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition teams who are helping inspire today’s youth to become the technical leaders of tomorrow.

Here are the 24 finalists for this year’s Leadership Experience. 

FIRST Tech Challenge
Allison Fannin Cibolo, TX
Brenda McGuinn Lexington, NC
Caroline Hanson Aspen, CO
Cheryl Dirck Noble, OK
Christopher Kunkel Hoboken, NJ
David Collins Champlain, NY
Joseph Wood High Point, NC
Matthew Brady Robbinsville, NJ
Michael Puckett Murfreesboro, TN
Sharon Jaeschke Gowrie, IA
Stephanie Ruple Shannon, MS
Susan Duff Dry Fork, VA
FIRST Robotics Competition
Brad Billeaudeau Del Rio, TX
Brigid Harmeyer Brookfield, WI
Christine Sapio Flagstaff, AZ
Danielle Crispo Indianapolis, IN
Elly-May O'Toole Boston, MA
Halit Colak Warren, MI
Jennifer Adams South Jordan, UT
John Stout Sandusky, OH
Kimberly Crayton Dawson, GA
Laura Zimny Esko, MN
Oscar Vasquez Santa Monica, CA
Richard Oka San Diego, CA


U.S. Air Force Leadership Experience program

When:  July 15 – 19, 2018; Dates could be subject to change based on Air Force operational missions/priorities.

Where:  Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso, Florida

The U.S. Air Force/FIRST Leadership Experience is at no cost to the 24 selected teachers/mentors. All travel costs within the continental United States (airfare, lodging, meals) are paid by the U.S. Air Force.

*Please note the workshop dates will most likely have one travel day before and one travel day after the 3-day seminar.*

Participation Agenda:

July 15th          Travel to Valparaiso, Florida for all mentors

July 16th          Leadership Experience

July 17th          Leadership Experience   

July 18th          Leadership Experience      

July 19th          Travel home for all mentors

Who is Eligible:

FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition mentors who are K-12 teachers who live within the continental United States.

Additional Requirements:

  • Must be willing to commit to the full workshop
  • Must be able to travel to the event from within the U.S.
  • Must not have participated in this leadership experience in previous years
  • Must not have involvement or affiliation with other military branches

How to Apply:

  • Complete the online application. Applications are closed for 2018.
  • Applications must be submitted by Friday, May 11th, 2018.
  • As part of your application, you will have the opportunity to describe in 300 words or less how you have found a better way to get students excited about science and technology, and what innovative techniques you use to help kids learn and stay motivated. 

Selection Process:

  • A selection committee will review all applications and select the mentors who will receive an invitation to attend the USAF/FIRST Leadership Experience
  • Chosen applicants will be named by Friday, May 25th, 2018.
  • A GSD&M representative will contact chosen applicants on behalf of the U.S. Air Force

For questions, please contact Brittany Keegan at brittany.keegan@gsdm.com.

Disclaimer:  The Department of Defense is undergoing budgetary reviews that may require the Air Force to cancel this event at a moment’s notice. It is the Air Force’s intent to hold this event unless directed to cease all actions due to sequestration. The Air Force believes this event is worthwhile and provides long-term benefits that help develop future leaders. If the event is canceled, you will be notified immediately.