Soldiers, students come together at community connector science fair
March 10, 2014
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Sgt. James Roeser has always had a passion for science and learning.
The intelligence analyst with 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, used that love to help judge a science fair Feb. 20, at Lakeview Hope Academy in Lakewood, Wash.
"It was definitely a cool experience getting to relive my young scientist dreams through these kids and see how some of them really took it seriously," said Roeser.
Roeser and four fellow soldiers from 4-2 SBCT judged nearly 100 projects by students in third through fifth grade.
Each soldier judged the projects based on three main categories: elements of the presentation board, how the child presented his or her project, and the journal that accompanied the presentation board.
Some projects had similar themes or questions asked, but each child brought a different approach to the presentation.
Roeser said the extras that kids did for the projects were what stood out to him the most.
One student explained a chemical reaction to turn an egg clear, he said.
The science fair provided an opportunity for the 4-2 SBCT soldiers to engage with people in their community connector program.
Michael Auton, the principal of the school, said he knew inviting the soldiers to help judge the science fair would be an "instant success."
"We have a strong military community presence in our school," Auton said. "We love having the military come to serve as role models and interact with students."
Service members are no strangers to the students, Auton added.
"Students pay tribute to soldiers and airmen at each Veterans Day assembly each year," explained Auton.
Getting away from the workplace is good for soldiers, said Roeser.
"The more you get involved with the community the more they can understand who you are and what you're doing," he said. "Full disclosure is our best ally for working with people."
"Everyone else has jobs that are just as important too, we just do it in a different uniform," he added.
After they finished judging the last projects, the soldiers added up the overall score for each student's project and reflected on the things they saw and their impressions of the science fair.
"I had a great experience," Roeser said. "I would love to do it again."
Auton said he appreciated the professionalism and positive attitude displayed by the visiting service members and would definitely want the soldiers to come back.
The top 20 students from the fair will represent Lakeview Hope Academy at the Clover Park School District Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fair March 1 at Lakes High School in Lakewood, Wash.