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Robins Air Force Base, Fort Valley State University ink new education partnership

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FORT VALLEY, Ga. – Robins Air Force Base and Fort Valley State University leadership came together to sign an educational partnership agreement at the university’s main campus in Fort Valley, Georgia, Nov. 13, 2020. The joint venture will provide educational opportunities and mentoring to students in the fields of research, development and engineering. (U.S. Air Force photo Kisha Foster Johnson)

FORT VALLEY, Georgia --

Leaders from Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and Fort Valley State University signed an Educational Partnership Agreement Nov. 13 at the FVSU main campus in Fort Valley, Georgia.

Signees included Brig. Gen. Jennifer Hammerstedt, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex commander, Col. Brian Moore, Robins installation commander, Wayne Ayer, Air Force Sustainment Center Engineering Directorate associate director, Paul Jones, FVSU president, and T. Ramon Stuart, FVSU provost and vice president of academic affairs.

All involved realize the importance education is to the economic future of Georgia, the base and higher learning institutions.

“Team Robins missions require high-tech expertise and problem solving, and that drives our need for the best minds in engineering and science,” said Hammerstedt. “This educational partnership addresses those needs and provides great advantages to everyone involved. Not only does it boost our mission at Robins, it offers tremendous opportunities for Fort Valley State University and its students.”

This partnership will provide educational opportunities and real-world experience to students, faculty and staff in the areas of research, development and engineering.

Though Robins has similar collaborations with several other in-state universities, FVSU is the first Historically Black College and University to have an arrangement with the installation. 

“I really cannot be more excited about what Robins Air Force Base is doing on this important day in our history. Thank you for realizing this is an amazing asset in your own backyard,” said Jones. “When I came on board five years ago, what was important to me was that we reached out and made sure Middle Georgia understood the power of this institution and the intellectual capacity that this university has and how we need to work diligently forging relations for the betterment of our students.”

Two Team Robins members Shantoyia Adewunmi, chief of Plans and Resources, 78th Air Base Wing, and Lakina Bembry, systems engineer, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, will serve as ambassadors to the university.

Adewunmi and Bembry are also FVSU graduates.

Collaborative projects may center around information technology, computer science, electronics, avionics, aging aircraft issues, cybersecurity, electronic combat, environmental issues, energy efficiency and conservation connected to various missions at Robins.

“This is a chance to give world-class training to our future problem solvers,” said Moore. “I am excited about the possibilities along with the incredible ingenuity and initiative that the students of FVSU will bring to current and future missions at Robins.”

Under this agreement, in part, Robins will:  

-Make defense laboratory personnel available to teach science courses or to assist in the development of science courses and materials for FVSU.

-Involve faculty and students in defense laboratory research projects.

-Cooperate with FVSU in developing a program under which students may be given academic credit for work on defense laboratory research projects.

-Provide academic and career advice and assistance to FVSU students.

“FVSU is an important intellectual asset for the state of Georgia and for the Air Force,” said Ayer. “I look forward to a mentoring program that’s going to mentor students both professionally and personally. I know our professional workforce is ready to engage in that manner because mentoring is so crucial.”

University officials stated computer science and cybersecurity jobs are in high demand, but a skilled workforce is in low supply. This joint venture could help meet the demand.

The agreement also includes guest lectures and demonstrations, professional development workshops, and use of modern technology and equipment from Robins on loan and for transfer as well.

 “Students, faculty, and staff get the chance to work on projects within our complex in critical, high-tech areas. In turn, Robins and the Air Force benefit from the fresh ideas and knowledge of FVSU students, faculty, and staff,” said Hammerstedt. “This EPA also means university and Robins personnel will have the opportunity to share knowledge and learning, as well as resources and facilities. It puts the students in touch with our experienced, knowledgeable professionals who work in these high-tech fields every day and inspires students for a career at Robins AFB and in the Air Force.”