BHS Students Introduced to Hanscom AFB Mission, People

June 7, 2023
Col. Taona Enriquez, installation commander, presents a coin to Katie Desaulniers, left, and Jasmine Werner, both Hanscom Air Force Base residents and Bedford High School students, following a BHS student tour of the base on Tuesday. Desaulniers and Werner helped to select 20 non-military connected students to attend the visit that was organized by the Hanscom Women’s Forum. U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki

By Mark Wyatt, 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs 

The Hanscom AFB Women’s Forum hosted 20 students from Bedford High School as part of an outreach event held on the base on Tuesday. 

Officials organized the visit to show students what the Department of the Air Force and Hanscom Air Force Base accomplishes on a day-to-day basis, while also sharing what military life is like for the 81 military-connected students enrolled at BHS.

“Today is a triple win; it allows the students to connect with the unique mission set here at Hanscom, connect with their soon-to-be Bedford High freshmen, and also get some career exploration as they prepare for college or other endeavors,” said Elizabeth Kent, Hanscom Women’s Forum Diversity Subcommittee chair and organizer for the tour.

Kent added the visit was also an opportunity to introduce the students to Hanscom AFB career fields in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Bedford High School students walk into Hanscom Middle School during a tour of Hanscom Air Force Base on Tuesday. The Hanscom AFB Women’s Forum hosted 20 BHS non-military connected students to show them what the Department of the Air Force and Hanscom AFB accomplishes on a day-to-day basis. U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki

“As you explore our base today, I encourage you to ask questions, engage with our personnel, and take advantage of this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Hanscom Air Force Base mission,” said Col. Taona Enriquez, installation commander, during opening remarks.

BHS students met with program office employees and toured facilities on the installation, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory’s Autonomous System Development Facility, The Lantern: Hanscom Collaboration and Innovation Center, and programs in the Digital and Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks Directorates.

The demonstrations provided attendees an opportunity to better understand the technology used to accomplish the warfighting mission.

“I learned more about the base than I thought I knew,” said Jasmine Werner, a junior at BHS and Hanscom AFB resident. “It was great meeting leaders and hearing them discuss the base.”

Of the 20 students participating, only a few had been to Hanscom AFB previously. 

“Today was a really great experience, especially for a military kid to bring non-military kids to the base,” said Katie Desaulniers, a BHS junior and resident at Hanscom AFB. “We hope this experience helps them [non-military] better connect with military kids.”

Werner and Desaulniers, who invited the BHS students to attend, are both attending their second high school.

Hanscom AFB and Bedford have partnered on several initiatives recently, specifically announcing a new non-voting school board member on the Bedford School Committee.

The high schoolers concluded their visit with lunch at the Hanscom Middle School with eighth grade students.

“We wanted to provide an initial meeting and ‘buddy lunch’ for our eighth graders as they prepare for their freshman year at Bedford High,” said Kent.

In addition to outreach programs like this, the Hanscom’s Women Forum supports a broad range of mentorship programs to develop the current workforce.

The Hanscom Women’s Forum meets on a bi-weekly basis.

For further information, email Kent at [email protected].

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