Natick visit inspires future scientists and engineers
July 29, 2014
- "Hosting events such as the young scholars from Northeastern University is important because it not only opens our installation to future leaders and problem solvers, it creates important academic partnerships with the colleges and universities in our own backyard."
NATICK, Mass. (July 29, 2014) -- High school students participating in Northeastern University's Young Scholars Program came to where science and engineering rule, the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, July 24, 2014.
"Hosting events such as the young scholars from Northeastern University is important because it not only opens our installation to future leaders and problem solvers, it creates important academic partnerships with the colleges and universities in our own backyard," said Joanna Graham, NSRDEC's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, coordinator. "By opening our gates to students and educators, we get to share our technical story with current and future STEM professionals and continue to keep our pipeline full of the best and brightest scientists and engineers."
The highly selective Northeastern University Young Scholars Program provides high school students interested in STEM the opportunity to garner hands-on experiences. Field trips to corporate and government sites are one component of the program.
"We try to really expose the students to the range of ways they can utilize their STEM interests," said Claire Duggan, director for Programs and Operations, the Center for STEM Education at Northeastern University. "We want to show them that there are pathways in the public and private sector."
The visitors to NSRDEC -- including about 30 high school juniors and seniors, three college mentors, and three educators -- interacted with NSRDEC scientists and engineers and learned about the areas of biomechanics, aerial delivery, welding/fabrication, and combat feeding -- to name a few. Students also toured the Doriot Climatic Chambers and the Ouellette Thermal Test Facility.
"It feels great to bring our work to the students' attention," said George Matook, an NSRDEC mechanical engineer. "I love seeing the faces of budding engineers light up when I show them what we do in aerial delivery S&T. We always need more engineers, and reaching out to the students before they make their educational and career choices is crucial."
Matook's overview of NSRDEC's work in aerial delivery especially inspired one young scholar.
"I think it is really cool we got to visit here to see different types of engineers in different fields," said Laura Jenny, who attends Leominster High School. "We got to see a video of an actual test they did on airdropping the supplies and shipments and how they develop the parachutes. I am really interested in that. Hopefully, someday I could go into engineering and maybe even work in a lab like this."
One student was particularly impressed with the Flameless Ration Heater, developed by NSRDEC's Combat Feeding Directorate, or CFD.
"The heater is amazing," said Ali Elgabri, who attends the Al-Noor Academy. "The heater is magic. You guys really feed your Soldiers, which is awesome."
"I am so happy to have been a part of the NU Young Scholars' tour," said P.J. Bitopoulos, an equipment specialist in NSRDEC's CFD. "It's wonderful to see the next generation of students coming through to learn about our R&D capabilities. I hope they'll continue on into scientific fields in their future."
The Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.