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Columbus AFB Airmen inspire 7,000 8th graders at 2018 Career Expo

Airman 1st Class Anthony Halas, 14th Medical Operations Squadron, spins a student in a Barany Chair Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Airman 1st Class Anthony Halas, 14th Medical Operations Squadron, spins a student in a Barany Chair Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Capt. Mike Crampton, 37th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, sits by a student in a model T-6 Texan II cockpit Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Capt. Mike Crampton, 37th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, sits by a student in a model T-6 Texan II cockpit Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Staff Sgt. Bryce Cook, 14th Medical Operations Squadron’s Bioenvironmental Engineering NCO in charge of industrial hygiene, shows a gas mask to a student, Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Staff Sgt. Bryce Cook, 14th Medical Operations Squadron’s Bioenvironmental Engineering NCO in charge of industrial hygiene, shows a gas mask to a student, Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Ryan, 14th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent, works on building a bridge with a student Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Ryan, 14th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent, works on building a bridge with a student Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Senior Airman Dylan Brown, Columbus Air Force Base Fire Department driver and operator, demonstrates a hammer swing on a Keiser FORCE Machine Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Senior Airman Dylan Brown, Columbus Air Force Base Fire Department driver and operator, demonstrates a hammer swing on a Keiser FORCE Machine Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. More than 120 Airmen from Columbus AFB, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, and Maj. Thomas Hyde, 14th Flying Training Wing commanders action group, tours the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo with Mike Clayborne, president of the CREATE Foundation Oct. 2, 2018, at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. The three-day expo was hosted by the CREATE Foundation and was sponsored by more than 130 businesses to inspire local eighth-grade students. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, and Maj. Thomas Hyde, 14th Flying Training Wing commanders action group, tours the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo with Mike Clayborne, president of the CREATE Foundation Oct. 2, 2018, at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. The three-day expo was hosted by the CREATE Foundation and was sponsored by more than 130 businesses to inspire local eighth-grade students. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, looks at a 3d printer duing the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo, Oct. 2, 2018, at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. The three-day expo showcased hundreds of career opportunities and was sponsored by more than 130 businesses to inspire local eighth-grade students. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, looks at a 3d printer duing the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo, Oct. 2, 2018, at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. The three-day expo showcased hundreds of career opportunities and was sponsored by more than 130 businesses to inspire local eighth-grade students. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Capt. Amessia Brown, 14th Medical Operations Squadron Public Health Flight commander, shows students the content of meals ready to eat Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Airmen from Columbus AFB represented seven of the 18 career pathways including aerospace, emergency management, engineering, government and public administration, health sciences, logistics as well as law and public safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Capt. Amessia Brown, 14th Medical Operations Squadron Public Health Flight commander, shows students the content of meals ready to eat Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Airmen from Columbus AFB represented seven of the 18 career pathways including aerospace, emergency management, engineering, government and public administration, health sciences, logistics as well as law and public safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Senior Airman Logan Marini, 14th Security Forces Squadron, talks to students about military working dogs Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. MWD demonstrations were given several times throughout the three–day expo and handlers answered any questions from students and volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Senior Airman Logan Marini, 14th Security Forces Squadron, talks to students about military working dogs Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. MWD demonstrations were given several times throughout the three–day expo and handlers answered any questions from students and volunteers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Elizabeth Owens)

Senior Airman Logan Marini, 14th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, gets bit while Staff Sgt. Zachary Kunkler, 14th Security Forces Squadron MWD handler, yells out commands during a MWD demonstration Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Law enforcement was one of the seven pathways that Airmen from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, represented. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)
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Senior Airman Logan Marini, 14th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, gets bit while Staff Sgt. Zachary Kunkler, 14th Security Forces Squadron MWD handler, yells out commands during a MWD demonstration Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Law enforcement was one of the seven pathways that Airmen from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, represented. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

The 14th Security Forces Squadron gives a Taser demonstration Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Law enforcement was one of the seven pathways at the expo with several demos of what it included. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)
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The 14th Security Forces Squadron gives a Taser demonstration Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Law enforcement was one of the seven pathways at the expo with several demos of what it included. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Capt. Chris Litscher, 14th Student Squadron flight commander, talks with students Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Airmen showcased various aircraft models and aerospace tools and technologies at the expo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melissa Doublin)
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Capt. Chris Litscher, 14th Student Squadron flight commander, talks with students Oct. 2, 2018, during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Airmen showcased various aircraft models and aerospace tools and technologies at the expo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melissa Doublin)

TUPELO, Miss. -- More than 120 Airmen from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, spent several days showing more than 7,000 eighth-grade students, from 17 northeast Mississippi counties, some of the vast career opportunities the Air Force offers during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo Oct. 2-4 at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo.

The expo was hosted by the CREATE Foundation, sponsored by the Toyota Wellspring Fund and more than 130 businesses. Airmen from Columbus AFB were represented in seven of the 18 career pathways including aerospace, emergency management, engineering, government and public administration, health sciences, logistics as well as law and public safety. Within those pathways a total of 17 career fields were showcased.

“First and foremost, it’s an opportunity to get out and connect with not just the students but the community as well,” said Maj. Richard Iser, 14th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations. “It’s about connecting with these kids and trying to inspire them to seek education and pursue (their interests).”

The “Imagine the Possibilities” Career Expo formed community partnerships with local businesses, to address the community challenges of inspiring and motivating students to pursue career goals.

“The point of the CREATE Expo is to get kids at an early enough age so that they can start to track in a certain way while they’re in high school, whether it’s toward the math, sciences or medical career fields or toward engineering and aviation,” said Capt. Chris Litscher, 14th Student Squadron flight commander. “It’s our job to kind of show them what all is out there. For me, back when I was in eighth grade, I had no concept of what was out there. Something like this opens their eyes, if you will, as to what all is out there.”

Litscher’s squadron showed students how they can be a part of the Air Force in an aerospace capacity through a variety of fields. Students were able to check out T-6 and T-38 models and get a feel for the controls in aircraft. The students even were able to try out the Bárány chair, a spinning device named for Nobel prize-winning Hungarian physiologist Robert Bárány that acclimates subjects to the stresses of flying.

Mike Clayborne, president of the CREATE foundation, said this expo has been extremely successful over but feels “the partnership with the Air Force took a really outstanding event to an even better one."
He said the resources from Columbus AFB make the expo even more exciting and give students insight to what opportunities are also available in the Air Force.

Clayborne said he wants students to walk away inspired from this and understand the variety of careers they have access to.

“We hope that it will inspire their imagination to think about what they want to do with their life and that there are many, many options out there for them to pursue,” Clayborne said. “This is just getting it on the radar screen for them. We think it makes education more relevant and clearly education is a key piece of the puzzle of someone being a contributing citizen to society and to having a fulfilling life.”