Local Students Shadow Redstone Workers for Day
April 23, 2009
- Sixty students from Huntsville High and Johnson High took part in the annual Job Shadow Day at Redstone Arsenal on Thursday.
- "Today, you are a part of an effort to explain what we do," said Ronnie Chronister, AMCOM deputy commander.
- "I need you to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions."
- "Can I have your job'"
Sixty students from Huntsville High and Johnson High took part in the annual Job Shadow Day at Redstone Arsenal on Thursday. The students were given tours, hands-on experiences, and mentoring from the Software Engineering Directorate, Prototype Integration Facility, and the Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment labs.
But new this year is the integration of a pilot program called Army Education Outreach Program launched by the Aviation and Missile Command. The AEOP is designed to engage and guide students and teachers in science, math, engineering and technology. Shadow Day was hosted by AMCOM in partnership with the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.
"Today, you are a part of an effort to explain what we do," said Ronnie Chronister, AMCOM deputy commander. He welcomed the students at SED and explained the command's mission as it relates to the different organizations that the students were about to experience. "What we do is all about supporting Soldiers out there who are fighting for us every day."
"When you leave here today, when you go to college, I want to make sure that you know that there may be something you want to do out here and know what you need to do that will get you a job on Redstone Arsenal," Chronister said. "I need you to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions."
And ask questions they did, as the students made their whirlwind tour. Carrying notepads and listening intently, many asked about how systems worked, what mathematical equations are used to bring concepts to life, and what types of classes or degrees to pursue to get a job on Redstone.
Annie Chu, a junior from Huntsville High with the AP Chemistry class, said she was really excited when she learned she would be part of the Job Shadow Day tour. "I want to find a career in math and science, and this is really a good place to come and find a career in that," she said.
Chu said much of her interest in math and science was influenced by her father, an electrical engineer for BAE Systems at Research Park. Although she doesn't know which college she wants to attend, she will definitely pursue a degree in math and science. She said she liked the precision in mathematics in order to determine, for example, exactly where a rocket will land before it is launched. "I want to get my hands on that," she said. She recently applied for a job with AMCOM's Summer Hire Program as a lab technician and is awaiting a response. The summer hire program recently closed for the summer, and Chu hopes she will get the opportunity to work on Redstone. "This was really awesome," she said of Job Shadow Day. "I really loved it."
During the Virtual Army Experience scenario with America's Army in SED, students were wide-eyed as they entered the room and got very excited to play the game. Anthony Donatelli, UAH industrial engineering graduate and one of the employees at SED, hosted the group as they played VAE. "I never thought I'd be doing this much cool and fun stuff after I graduated," he told the students. "This is what I do day in and day out," he said pointing to the games.
Marcus Burwell, a junior from Johnson High with the Honors English class, said he wants to become an aviator and fly Chinooks in the military. But first he'd like to take the opportunity to go to college, hopefully on a football scholarship, and get a degree in mechanical engineering. "This program you put on today was really a positive thing," he said. He especially liked the mentoring process during the tour which he said showed that employees on the Arsenal really love what they do. "You succeed in what you love," he said.
Burwell's favorite group activity was the Kiowa Warrior simulator in which he had the opportunity to fly for a few minutes during the 20-minute time slot. Though none in his family have a military background or work for the government, he said any government position would be great. He thanked Redstone for giving him and his class the opportunity to see what goes on inside Redstone.
"Can I have your job'" asked one student of Chronister during the feedback session at the end of the day. Chronister laughed and quipped she should probably think twice before wanting his job. Pay attention to the folks who gave you the tours today, he said. "They're the ones with the fun jobs."
On a scale of 1 to 10, students rated all the group activities a "12." When asked which activity they liked best, in unison, they said, "the games," referring to America's Army.
"It was an exceptionally interesting and great tour," said Johnson High counselor Annie Horton. Three people from Redstone visited the classes the day prior to explain what students can expect during Job Shadow Day and how it relates to the AEOP. "This experience should help clear their minds on their choices for careers," Horton said. "It also sparked their interest in science and engineering."
For more information about the AMCOM Army Education Outreach Program, call Angie Kielsmeier at 876-2023 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.