Jack Ferns was this year’s recipient of the 2012 New England Regional Administrator’s Aviation and Space Education Leadership Award. (Photo – Left to right are Michael Huerta, FAA Acting Administrator, Ferns and Corbett.)
Ferns was cited for his exemplary service with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation in which he engaged in countless STEM-AVSED activities. These include supporting more than 20 ACE Academies. He was directly involved in the implementation of the International Aviation Art Contest and countless career outreach events.
Ferns, now the Executive Director of the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, said it was quite a surprise to him. Under his leadership, the museum was awarded a one million dollar grant by the Slusser family for the construction of the Slusser Aviation Learning Center. This facility is dedicated to inspiring students about the science and wonder of aviation, and to New Hampshire’s own rich aviation history.
Ferns also initiated a collaboration with the local school district to establish a new course using an innovative NASA program called "Virtual Skies". This program focuses on developing STEM skills in high school students.
Ferns said the museum will be teaching high school juniors and seniors from 3 high schools this Fall at the museum. The course foundation will be NASA’s Virtual Skies. "We’re in the process of writing the curriculum and preparing for the fall semester," said Ferns. "We have 8 students signed up already and room for 20." The course will cover career subjects (STEM as well) such as; communications (ATC), weather, navigation, and airport development. It will last 2 semesters (1 full yr) and is accredited with the Manchester School District, the largest school district in the state.
Amy Lind Corbett, Regional FAA Administrator for New England said that these examples were just a small sampling of Ferns commitment to future generations of the state of New Hampshire, and New England.