SMDC inspires future science leaders
January 31, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Approximately 70 local high school students visited the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Jan. 15 for the 13th annual Adventures in Engineering Day.
Aimed at high school juniors, the purpose of this event was to promote science and engineering disciplines as a career choice. It offered the students an opportunity to observe what engineers do on a daily basis, provided them with hands-on knowledge and encouraged their pursuit of a science.
"We brought our students last year and they loved it," said Sherry Truitt, a Lexington High School teacher. "Because we are in a small city, the students are not exposed to something like this, and they don't know what is out there. This is a great opportunity for them to see what the science and technology fields hold.
"The seniors, this year, really encouraged the students here today to come out and participate," she added. "I think this is a wonderful opportunity for our children and I hope they continue this program."
Participating in Adventures in Engineering were students and teachers from Westminster Christian Academy, Whitesburg Christian Academy, Grissom High School, Russellville High School and Lexington High School.
"This is a great program; I love it! It's a lot of fun to see what the Army is doing and also see the engineering opportunities I didn't know existed," said William Hankins, a Lexington High School junior. "It's a lot of fun to be here. I am making a lot of career choices now for the future, and I would recommend coming here to see this to anybody who wants to go into the engineering field."
Students visited the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Technical Center Concepts Analysis Laboratory, where they witnessed several ongoing test programs and learned about various school and employment programs available.
"Adventures in Engineering has been successful because it gives high school students a chance to see some real work going on," said Kevin Nash, CAL supervisor. "We enjoy it. It allows us to reach out and one of our objectives is to try to get young people interested in engineering and science.
"We are trying to break some stereotypes and even celebrate some of the stereotypes that go along with engineering," he continued. "We are glad the teachers took the time to bring the students here and maybe one day those students will remember us and look us up."
Besides their tour of SMDC, they also visited the Missile Defense Agency, Missile and Space Intelligence Center, NASA, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center Prototype Integration Facility, AMRDEC Software Engineering Directorate and University of Alabama in Huntsville Aerophysics Research Center.
The Junior Achievement of Northern Alabama coordinated students' participation, while the Air Space and Missile Defense Association, the National Defense Industrial Association and Calhoun Community College hosted the event.
"This is really interesting," said Abby Sims, a Lexington High School junior. "The Army is doing a lot of things I didn't know about. It is good to see there is a lot of different scientific and engineering research going on here.
"If a student is interested in physics and engineering I recommend they come check this out," she added. "It is very interesting, and it allows you to have more options when considering a career."