Thursday, May 30, 2024

NSU reps at Barksdale’s Defenders of Liberty Air Show

by BIZ Magazine

NATCHITOCHES – Several representatives of Northwestern State University and NSU@Barksdale participated in the Defenders of Liberty Air Show at Barksdale Air Force Base last weekend.  

Thousands of spectators attended the weekend-long event that showcased both modern and historic military and civilian aircrafts, along with other attractions, such as projects and programs at NSU that focus on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).  

“Presenting to a max capacity air base, our faculty and students presented snapshots about their programs,” said Suzette Haddon, NSU’s executive director of Caddo/Bossier Partnerships and Military Outreach, which is housed on the Air Force Base. “The flight line was packed with airplane enthusiasts while at our STEM/STEAM building hosted by StarBase of Barksdale gathered the young at heart testing the various technology items displayed.”  

Dr. Christopher Lyles and J.D. Cox from the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences demonstrated drone technology while Dr. Rafiqul Islam and Dr. Nabin Sapkota from the Department of Engineering Technology showcased laser engraving capabilities and robotics. Professors Megan Wedgeworth and Larry Arant from the School of Allied Health and Professors Kathy Vaughan and Sheila Smith with students Vy Bui, Alexis Strange, Fernando Trejo, Madison Thompson, Jackye Thomas and Nakayah Washington from the College of Nursing also participated.  

“The impact of NSU’s presence was really felt when our School of Allied Health Professor Larry Arant and Professor Megan Wedgeworth brought over 15 Allied Health students to the hanger to visit with parents and children investigating the human skeletal structure,” Haddon said. “Not to be left out, our College of Nursing with Professor Kathy Vaughn and Professor Shelia Smith, also brough another 15 nursing students to round out the medical team.” 

Professor Collier Hyams and student Anna Kent from the Department of Fine and Graphic Art had on display Kent’s 2023 Mazda STEAM Art Car winning design.      

“The Art Car topped the spot for car enthusiasts, young and old, as they marveled at the process and designs,” Haddon said. “Representative Mike Johnson also stopped and posed for a snapshot with Professor Hyams at the Mazda winner.” 

The airshow was so popular that Barksdale closed its gates Saturday when the base reached its maximum capacity.  Haddon said NSU’s showing was significant and thanked the NSU volunteers who participated.  

“Northwestern is here at Barksdale and this weekend we proudly represented our university by the numbers present at this air show,” Haddon said. “We proudly highlighted our programs with four tables filled by our faculty and students.” 

NSU@Barksdale is located on Barksdale AFB within the Education Service Center at 723 Douhet Drive, BAFB, LA. The Barksdale office services the men and women at Barksdale, their dependents as well as the local community of reservists, National Guard and retirees.  In addition to providing general education courses for completion of CCAF requirements, NSU@Barksdale offers students 40 complete regionally accredited degree programs that can be completed exclusively online and/or with compressed video classes. 

Information on NSU@Barksdale is available at

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