KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Service and social organization The Links, Incorporated is partnering with McGhee Tyson Airport for a unique program designed to expose local youth to the field of aviation. It’s called the “eLITE ACEs: An Aviation STEAM Program.” 

The inaugural class will be selected from among Knox County students who attend Vine Magnet Middle School, Whittle Springs Middle School, Austin-East High School, Fulton High School, and L&N STEM Academy.

According to the Knoxville Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, “In response to the national outcry and civic unrest resulting from the tragic death of George Perry Floyd, Jr. in May 2020, The Knoxville (TN) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is partnering with the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority to bring a unique immersion experience to expose local youth to STEAM principles and aviation. With the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement and recent events at our nation’s Capitol, now more than ever we see the growing need to bridge relationships and to chart a path to a more optimistic future for our youth. This innovative program is a step in the right direction to achieve this goal. Together, we are Links Interested in Technology Education and Aviation Career Education – eLITE ACEs!”

The “eLITE ACEs” program is a series of accelerated lessons exposing students to engineering and aviation concepts, culminating with an on-site visit to McGhee Tyson Airport.

The on-site visit will give students a behind-the-scenes look at operations, maintenance, logistics and leading-edge technology.

“This program will be a STEAM-ulating way to exercise our civic responsibility and to be socially aware and responsive while bridging connections within our community,” The Links Incorporated Knoxville chapter says. “Further, our program provides an opportunity for youth to meet mentors as well as the many professionals who keep our Knoxville airport functioning with excellence since 1937. Programs like this are vital to the Knoxville community because education, in all forms, influences how we think, act and see ourselves.”

The group also says they are looking for underrepresented youth who are interested in aviation for the 2022 inaugural year of the program.  

Students that can benefit from this program are: 

  • 12 to 16 years old 
  • Academically focused 
  • Interested in aviation and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) 
  • Strong peer leaders, and 
  • Demonstrate good school citizenship.

eLITE ACEs will take place on Tuesday, May 3. Applications are due Friday, April 8. Apply for this free program here: 

If you have questions about the program email