number of graduates entering Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM) disciplines is not adequately meeting labor market demands. So, how do
we interest more students to choose STEM career fields?
start by sparking an interest in these fields through their professors,
teachers and counselors. To do that, several U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center,
Huntsville (HNC) engineers participated in the Alabama Community Education
Association’s (ACEA) annual conference at the Huntsville Marriott Feb. 25.
Gullatte, Installation Support and Programs Management Directorate; John Nevels
and Brian Spear, Engineering Directorate and Bruce Railey, Ordnance and
Explosives Directorate, all Huntsville Center engineers, engaged more than 350
educators from throughout Alabama by discussing their career fields.
important for Huntsville Center to participate in events like these and be a
positive influence in the community, said Spear, site development civil
educators today are teaching the citizens of the future and providing them with
the information they need to shape the future we will share together,” he said.
“The emphasis on STEM fields of study will be paramount to HNC, the greater
Huntsville area, as well as this country in order to remain the world leader in
the technology industries.”
have shown that school personnel are often cited as key influences in a
student’s choice of major. If a student isn’t exposed to a particular area,
interest can’t develop.
Morin, ACEA president and Alabama Afterschool Community Network coordinator,
said the conference is a professional development requirement for educators,
but this year it offered a unique opportunity to learn about STEM careers first
hand and take that information back to their students.
year, only 27 percent of graduating seniors expressed any type of interest in
STEM disciplines, which is a problem,” he said. “It’s not only a problem for
our economy and workforce development, it’s a problem for them because that is
where the jobs are and where the jobs are going to be.”
said educators have the ability to create an atmosphere where students can
experiment and have fun and regain a sense of wonder regarding STEM
educators that ability is exactly what Nevels, explosives safety structural engineer,
hoped to achieve while showing examples of his work in protective construction
and how he determines the effects explosives have on structures.
educators ‘in the trenches’ of teaching the next generation of the workforce
and giving them some real-life examples of some cool applications of the
difficult subject matter they are teaching to share with their students is
important,” he said. “Teachers and administrators work long hours lifting up
and taking care of our greatest resource, our future, and I think it's
important that we try to take care of them however we can.”
of the volunteers talked to the educators one-on-one after their presentations.
international operations civil engineer, enjoyed connecting with the teachers
and hoped he shared the importance of their efforts in what can sometimes be a
thankless job, he said.
is hope that we might encourage these educators, as we were encouraged during
our early years,” he said. “I wish I could thank all of the teachers who saw
the hope in me when I didn't see it in myself.”
the conference, each engineer brought his own perspective to show others the
different programs offered by Huntsville Center and the significant work the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is doing both in the states and abroad.
“The importance of our future in the STEM arena and
how it affects our everyday living and the progress of tomorrow depends on the
work of today,” said Gullatte, special projects civil engineer. “Getting
involved in outreach programs within any community is always a great
opportunity to share our knowledge, experience and to plant a seed for