A day in the 'shadow' of USACE employees
Liam Ziminske displays his successful egg drop design while Terry Bautista (c) and Derek Ravensbergen(l) look on during Shadow Day 2010 hosted by the Corps of Engineers Europe District and DOD Dependents Schools.

WIESBADEN, Germany - Most children don't know much about their parents' workday beyond grabbing a cup of coffee on the way out the door. On Feb. 2 that changed for some students in Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe,when they headed out the door with their parents.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District hosted 36 students at the district's headquarters as part of "Shadow Day," an annual event sponsored by DODDS.

"Shadow Day introduces young people to the work force by shadowing their parent or a mentor," said Raelene Hampton, the district's equal employment officer and Shadow Day coordinator. "Students get a first-hand introduction to the world of engineering, and hopefully for some of them, engineering will become a passion and possibly a career path."

Shadow Day is a fun and academically motivating day, when students not only have a chance to see what parents do, but also how math and science can be applied to everyday life.

An Egg Drop competition was one of the events of the day. Students built devices to keep their eggs from breaking when dropped from a height of six feet. For 9-year-old Liam Ziminske, the son of Environmental Branch Chief Mark Ziminske, the best part of the day was watching his egg drop.

"I used a parachute design that I saw on the video from last year's event," said Ziminske. "I thought that might work, so I tried it and it worked. My egg didn't break."

Christopher Ortiz, 9-year-old son of Project Manager Orlando Ortiz, also enjoyed the event.

"It was fun seeing all of the designs the other kids came up with and seeing them drop," said Ortiz. "There were a lot of scrambled eggs."

Not breaking their eggs may have been the goal for the students, but for the Corps employees who volunteered to help out, the goal was much bigger.

"We wanted the students to see there are many aspects of engineering," said Neil Ravensbergen, a district resident engineer. "There is more to engineering than designing and constructing buildings."

Over the course of the day, the students also learned about geographic information systems, toured the world through Google Earth, listened to presentations about architecture design and toured the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center construction site.

But perhaps one of the most useful lessons from the day came after learning how construction and engineering brought to life the blockbuster movie "Avatar."

"It was very exciting," said Ortiz. "I want to be a director or video game designer, and seeing the Avatar video, I saw another aspect of engineering. I know engineering will help me with coding, room design and other things that I would use as a video game designer."

Page last updated Fri February 12th, 2010 at 05:00