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About Our Organization

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Airway Science for Kids, Inc. (ASK) is a nonprofit with a mission to remove barriers for children and youth who have been systematically excluded from STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education and careers. Founded as a nonprofit in 1992, ASK engages youth of color and youth who are living on low-incomes in unique opportunities to learn about STEAM through the exciting world of flight. Our founder, Bob Strickland, was a leader in Portland’s African American community who saw aeronautics as a tool to capture the imaginations of youth at critical ages and transitions.

Today, ASK’s mission is to create equity through aviation STEAM education. We draw strength from our unique approach to closing the opportunity gap for historically underserved children in the fields of aeronautics and STEAM, from our strong base of community support, and from our culturally responsive board and staff.

ASK provides….

  • Programs to kids who typically don’t participate in STEAM education, such as kids of color, kids living on low-incomes, girls, and other kids who may face barriers; where all kids are welcome.

  • Age-appropriate programs at the elementary, middle-school, and high-school levels.

  • An opportunity for high school students to build a real plane.

  • Our curriculum and technical assistance to groups around the country and the world who are offering aviation STEAM education to kids.

ASK serves youth ages 10-21 in acquiring the fundamentals of aviation and aerodynamics and the applied mathematics and engineering that drive them. While open to all youth, ASK strives to increase STEAM exposure to low income and youth of color. 

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Our Mission

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Airway Science for Kids creates equity through aviation STEAM* education.

* Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math

Equity Definition
Airway Science for Kids seeks to bring about equitable, creative environments which meet individual’s needs and capacities to thrive within our communities. By providing equitable aviation and STEAM educational experiences in related environments, we seek to embrace each individual, their family and communities as well as offer a network of human services on a human level ~ Thus, equity is humanity.  We are here to eradicate inequitable environments by embracing our need to serve the underserved and disenfranchised communities and individuals. - Yolanda Frazier, DEI Community Outreach Director

Key Strategies / We offer…

  • Programs to kids who typically don’t participate in STEAM education, such as kids of color, kids living on low-incomes, girls, and other kids who may face barriers; where all kids are welcome.

  • Age-appropriate programs at the elementary, middle-school, and high-school levels.

  • An opportunity for high school students to build a real plane.

  • Our curriculum and technical assistance to groups around the country and the world who are offering aviation STEAM education to kids.
     

Values

  • Teamwork: Accomplish our work together, each offering something different. Balance expertise with inclusion.

  • Fun: Fun is our essential fuel. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing. Be lighthearted and positive.

  • Leadership: Listen to others, look for strengths, and facilitate contribution. Be self-reflective.

  • Innovation: On the cutting edge, failure is our friend. Be curious and take risks. We determine success.

  • Trust: Act according to values. Do what you say you’re going to do. Build relationships that respect differences.

  • Continuous improvement: Challenge assumptions. Ask what could be better. Let people learn from their actions.

  • Equity: Open career trajectories that allow the future to reflect the diversity of our people. Work effectively
    cross-culturally. Take responsibility for our impact.

  • Discipline. Strive for excellence. Manage the details. Remember that the main thing is the main thing.

 
 
 
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Our Team

Julia Cannell, MBAA (aka DC3Girl)
Vectors Founder
Executive Director, Airway Science for Kids, Inc.

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My family is from Oregon, and our connection to Aviation in this beautiful state is one that literally set the direction of my life.  My father was in college when he began flying and worked as a teacher in Wamic while he built his flight hours. In 1966 he was hired by Northwest Airlines and went on to have a three-decade career doing a job he loved.

 

I was lucky enough to grow up around airplanes, and learn to fly as a teen.  My obsession with airplanes led me to study flight technology at Central Washington University in the ’80s.  I went on to pursue other career options but never stopped loving the industry that shaped my life. 

 

Aerospace is an industry unlike any other.  It is built on the dreams and ambitions of men who were willing to take chances to prove the merits of flying.  Our history is built on the actions of far more men than women, and few minorities in either gender. Unfortunately, this disparity has not been corrected. Like many STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based careers, Aerospace is feeling the impact of a lack of qualified employees.  Engaging historically underserved youth in the pursuit of Aerospace careers is the right thing to do for the industry and for the students. 

 

I believe in the power of Aviation to change lives, shape economies, keep our country safe, and inspire amazing explorations in space.  Our industry needs qualified employees, and our youth deserve to experience the passion of studying the diverse field of Aerospace.

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Yolanda Frazier, DEI Community Outreach Director

Yolanda Frazier is an exemplary model for the Portland, Oregon and Southwest Washington businesses and community organizations helping to bring about equity, better business operations and unmatched educational opportunities.  It is through her talents, skills and expertise, that people are connected, supported and empowered.

Yolanda hails from North Portland, where she was born and raised.  Her time is spent mostly with her family and their non-profit CHROME and now with Airway Science for Kids!  Her career spans from working for technological organizations, to universities, nonprofits and lending valuable insight to so many organizations. Computer Engineering was her first major until she learned she loved working with and for others.  She has two Masters and is always learning and teaching something new!

Yolanda envisions Airway Science as an educational and career opportunity for the most underserved communities. It is through her passion, experience and talents that communities will connect in hopes of a better, sustainable future for the most disenfranchised.

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Dr. JD Wyneken, Director of Program Excellence

JD began with ASK in October 2020 with an extensive background in college-level teaching and educational / business strategy and implementation. He has a Ph.D in twentieth century history, and has taught and facilitated educational events with people of all ages.

 

The grandson of two Marines - one a crew chief on F4U Corsairs in the Pacific during World War II - JD has a deep passion for aviation, its history, and how it can build rewarding lives for kids of all backgrounds and talents. JD spearheads ASK's short-term and long-term strategic planning as an organization, and excels in relationship-building and staff development and mentoring. 

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Jaylen Palmer, Aviation Mentor

Jaylen Palmer has been interested in aviation since he was little. His parents searched for a program that would foster and encourage this interest, looking as far as out of state, only to discover Airway Science for Kids right in their own neighborhood.

 

Since then, Jaylen has participated through the InFlight and TeenFlight programs. He has expanded his interests through ASK’s drone club. As a junior in high school, Jaylen is actively pursuing his pilot’s license, and recently completed his first solo flight! As ASK expands their programs, Jaylen plans to lend his experience as a teen mentor to younger students just discovering their own dreams of flight.

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Sona Uradnik, Writer & ACCESS Student Coordinator

Sona was raised in the Pacific Northwest and is proud to call this place home. She has been fortunate to travel and see incredible places all over the world and learn about various cultures. Over the years, she has discovered her passions for writing, music, and social justice.

 

Sona has had the pleasure of working with various nonprofit organizations over the years, and she has enjoyed seeing how different organizations are working to change the world for the better.

 

After graduating from college amidst a global pandemic, Sona realized that she wanted to be part of an organization where she could make a difference. Sona is inspired by the stories of aviation pioneers, and she hopes to share their stories to inspire others.

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Isabel Gallegos, Operations Manager

Isabel provides administrative support to the Airway Science team and operational needs for the AYOS building. After graduating with a B.S. in International Business Isabel worked for a non-profit organization doing special projects and coordinating training events, then went on to have a career in Higher Education for the next ten years. She is happy to be back in the nonprofit community where she can focus on supporting the mission of removing barriers to STEAM education for youth of color. She also enjoys being a part time caregiver and a volunteer at the local women’s prison, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. Her favorite things to do are read, yoga, and spend time with her daughter.

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Ezekial Hale, Student Instructor

Ezekial grew up on a ranch in eastern Oregon, the dry  side of the state with darker skies. He spent some time as a child in Ecuador, and as an undergrad in Germany. He has taught for bilingual programs in Colombia and in Spain. Ezekial is an amateur astronomer and linguistics graduate student at Portland State University.

Ezekial loves to be in a classroom or out on adventures with students. To him, the continued shift toward a more inclusive and pluralistic society begins in Education, with a collaborative spirit of understanding and resilience.

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"Guillermo Rebolledo Salgado (He/El) | Community Outreach Coordinator 

Guillermo was born and raised in Oregon. He graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Sociology. He has worked and held a variety of leadership positions at different non-profit organizations. His passion is addressing and working towards meeting his community's needs with a focus on breaking down barriers for BIPOC. At ASK, Guillermo cultivates and maintains relationships with community organizations and partners in efforts to increase our reach and expand our programs."

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Gabrielle Strong, Social Media Coordinator & Designer

Gabrielle Strong lives up to her name in all things she does. She is an innovator, creator, artist, and designer that will bring strength, determination, intelligence, and creativity to each task. She was awarded her BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, and she was awarded her MFA from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She has designed both domestically and internationally. Collaboration and storytelling and are the root of her process. 

 
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Social Justice

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A Message from Our Board of Directors

Considering the racial environment that we are currently in, both locally and globally, we at ASK are taking this time to remind ourselves why we are here and the importance of the work that we do. We understand that there is injustice and inequality in the world. We also understand that it doesn’t have to be that way, which is why we are even more engaged to stay true to our mission to serve children of color, specifically children of African descent. Our founder, Bob Strickland, and founding board member, Hank Miggins, both lived during a time where they and other Black men were not privileged to fly airplanes and founded ASK to ensure kids, from their community and who looked like them, would not have that same experience based on the color of their skin alone.

Founded in 1992, ASK has been a staple in what was once the heart of the Black community in N/NE Portland. Although the community has gone through changes, we are still committed to Bob’s dreams of ensuring young Black children are introduced to the field of aviation to broaden their horizons. To say Black Lives Matter is an understatement to us. We also believe Black education matters, Black opportunities matter, Black children matter! We understand that our young Black children, and their families, are dealing with two pandemics simultaneously: COVID-19 and systemic racism, which is why we have put measures in place to ensure we are still connected to our children. While we are saddened to see the injustice our kids are dealing with, we are also pleased to know that ASK has been, and continues to be, an ally for not only the lives, but also the educational growth, of Black children.

On behalf of the Board of Directions and Staff at ASK, we thank you for your support.

ASK Equity Statement

“Airway Science for Kids seeks to bring about equitable, creative environments which meet individual’s needs and capacities to thrive within our communities. By providing equitable aviation and STEAM educational experiences in related environments, we seek to embrace each individual, their family and communities as well as offer a network of human services on a human level ~ Thus, equity is humanity.  We are here to eradicate inequitable environments by embracing our need to serve the underserved and disenfranchised communities and individuals.”

- Yolanda Frazier

 
 
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Board of Directors

Officers

Johnell Bell  – President

​Aron Faegre – Vice President​

Carolyn Meeks – Treasurer

Henriette de Rozario – Secretary

Members

Ted Millar

Cliff Gerber

Nichole Watson

Dwight Palmer

Greg Mottau

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History

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Bob Strickland; Founder

Airway Sciences for Kids was founded as a non-profit in 1992 by retired Air Force engineer Bob Strickland. After 22 years in the Air Force and 13 years as an auditor with the state of Texas, and still in his 50s, he decided that spending the rest of his life golfing and fishing was not for him. Bob assigned himself a mission: Fill in the gaps in learning for kids who needed help. He sketched out his plan. It was a simple vision, really: teach at-risk boys and girls to fly airplanes via computer simulator, thus tricking them into learning math and science, reading and study skills. Bob was the founder, executive director, and the primary fundraiser for the program from its founding in 1992 until he passed away in 2008. In 1999 Bob received one of the first Tiger Woods Foundation’s “Sharing and Caring Awards” for his service and commitment to his community.

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Hank C Miggins; Original Board Member

served on our original Board of Directors, he was an iconic figure who touched many lives. His legacy continues to inspire and motivate us in this ongoing, important work. In 1981, Hank brought all of his energy and ideals to Portland, where he held the positions of Internal Auditor for Multnomah County, Deputy Multnomah County Auditor, Executive Assistant to the Chair of Multnomah County Commissioners, Interim County Chair for Multnomah County Commissioner, Interim Manager of Portland Exposition Center, Consultant, Legal Assistant to State Representative Michael Fahey Sr. and Animal Control Director. In 2000, Hank returned to Spokane as the City Manager and Interim City Administrator. Hank tried to retire to Portland but continued to work hard in retirement. He became a Mortgage Broker for Discover Mortgage for several years before finally retiring (again). In retirement, he continued to be a force in the community by contributing his time and talents to many organizations.

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After retiring, Air Force veteran spent years teaching, encouraging and inspiring students to learn. Auditor turned his love of flying into teaching moments for at-risk students

From the article by Amy Martinez Starke, The Oregonian

 

Bob Strickland never got to fly a military plane. Born in 1935 in Jim Crow Arkansas, Bob was not in a position to imagine such a lofty goal. But he wanted to work near planes. So he enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school and became a desk jockey –an auditor and accountant –instead.

 

That work turned out to suit his methodical, rules-based, by-the-book personality very well. As a hobby, Bob built and flew remote-controlled planes. Working with one of his children building an aircraft, he reflected on just how much math and science learning took place through that hobby.

 

An idea took form in his mind: After 22 years in the Air Force and 13 years as an auditor with the state of Texas, and still in his 50s, he decided that spending the rest of his life golfing and fishing was not for him.

 

Bob assigned himself a mission: Fill in the gaps in learning for kids who needed help.

He sketched out his plan. It was a simple vision, really: teach at-risk boys and girls to fly airplanes via computer simulator, thus tricking them into learning math and science, reading and study skills. It would be a two-year program, meeting after school.

 

He had a master’s degree, and his own children were grown and graduated from college when he split up with his wife in Texas and moved to Portland to be near old friends, settling in unincorporated Northwest Portland in 1991. His brainchild became a foundation in 1992, named after his father, who had been a Baptist preacher.

 

Bob first plugged into the Boys and Girls Club in Northeast Portland for classroom space, with donated computers. He recruited volunteers and sponsors. To find kids, he got referrals from the community, churches and schools.

 

Fundraising was an immediate and constant struggle. He twisted lots of arms.

That was just the start. The next hurdle was getting the kids to show up. Then to settle down, and pay attention. None of them could read an analog watch. Many had never seen a map. Some could hardly read.

 

There were rules: Finish your homework before you get to the center. If it wasn’t done, he’d help with that, too. But if the kid could get through learning the basics of flight and master the flight simulator program, a big carrot was at the end of the first year: He or she would get a flight in a private plane.

 

During the second year of the program, the kids built a radio-controlled airplane from scratch and learned to fly it, under Bob’s supervision. By the time they finished, they could read an altimeter and airspeed indicator and determine latitude and longitude. They knew about aerodynamics and Bernoulli’s Law. They could read a map, aviation charts, chart flight paths and figure wind correction angles. They had built an airplane from scratch.

 

Some didn’t last. Some dropped out or moved away. Some needed a firm hand and a reminder of the two-year commitment they had agreed to. Or perhaps they needed him to repeat one of his frequently used mottoes:


“If it is to be, it is up to me.”

“Miss no opportunity to learn, pass no opportunity to teach.”

“Short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.”

Most graduated.

Bob often remarked that he was making a difference not only in that child’s life but also in that child’s whole family. He reflected that this kid was wearing a suit, that one had gone to college, that one had gone into pilot training, that one was more engaged in school. One girl got an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

 

The longer the program went on, the more results he saw. But he also saw more to do. He wanted more centers. He wanted an evening program for adults and older kids to work together. He even envisioned a nationwide program. His strategic plan spanned years. Bob lived and breathed this program for the last 17 years of his life, which ended Sept. 25, 2008, at age 72 of cancer. He was the program’s only executive director, its recruiter, its main instructor, and its primary fundraiser. He received only a small stipend.

Hundreds of kids have been through the program, which now has locations in Portland, Hillsboro and Vancouver, and with the death of its leader and its main energy, is in even greater need of volunteers. During the time he had the foundation, Bob found the time to learn to fly himself. He got a private pilot’s license.

 

He recruited many of his fellow pilots to take the kids up on their first flights –kids so excited they couldn’t sleep the night before. They wanted to be the one who got to ride in the front seat with the pilot and to whom a pilot might say: “You’re at the helm now, kid.”

 
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Sponsors 

Thank you to our ASK Corporate Partners
 

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Hillsboro Aero Academy
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Please show your support for our partners by visiting their websites & learning more about them.

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Thank you to our ASK Community Partners
 

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