The Fairborn Institute engages both high school and undergraduate students in real-world research, development, and education projects by enlisting them in Fairborn Institute funded or supported projects as members of communities of practice. Student projects are conducted within three broad areas: astronomy, aviation, and humanity.
Scientific research by student teams in the Astronomy Research Seminar has resulted in some 150 published papers with 500 coauthors. A National Science Foundation grant is funding the expansion and evaluation of the Seminar. Student engineering developments are focused on the design and refinement of both ground- and space-based (CubeSat) robotic telescopes.
An introductory Aviation Program is being developed that consists of two week-long courses: Private Pilot and Instrument Pilot to be initially offered at Cuesta College in July 2019. This Introductory Aviation Program which is totally flight-simulation based, places students within a local aviation community of practice, and is an experiment which could result in a highly economical training approach that could help alleviate our current pilot shortage.
Current research is a three-step process: (1) understanding overall models that project future trajectories for humanity and Earth, (2) identifying the most sensitive trajectory parameters within these models (potential tipping points), and (3) considering developments that could alter future trajectories at their most sensitive points. Similar to the successful Astronomy Research Seminar, a community of practice is being developed to support student teams in their research.