Students visit Army chemical, biological center
Edgewood Chemical Biological Center Advanced Design and Manufacturing Group Leader Mark Schlein explains his team’s work to NJSHS students Celline Kim and Samantha Taylor, chaperone Minocha Rakesh, NJSHS students Lanair Lett, Abriana Johnson, Amanda Schanz, Kekeli Dawes and Terrell Buckson.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Army scientists and engineers are mentoring promising students involved in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium program.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's chemical and biological center recently supported the national program by providing seven employees and their expertise as virtual and on-site judges at the Maryland regional JSHS.

The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center hosted 22 of the JSHS regional winners from across the United States April 29. Center officials gave a facility tour and answered questions.

The JSHS program encourages high school-level students nationwide to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers enabling them to compete for scholarships and receive public recognition for their research results.

Welcoming the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium students to ECBC and giving them an overview of the organization, ECBC Deputy Director of Engineering Randy Laye announced the Center's demand for a young and specialized workforce in the future, and informed them about the opportunities and requirements that potential ECBC employees face.

"Congratulations to reaching this benchmark as the regional winners of the JSHS competition," Laye said. "Something to keep in mind for your career choice after college is that thousands of new civilian positions are opening in this area due to the Base Realignment and Closure transition, and we'd love to see you work at ECBC."

Advanced Design and Manufacturing Group Leader Mark Schlein and his team took the NJSHS students on a tour through the ADM Facility and captured their attention by educating them about the multi-disciplinary capabilities and state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.

Furthermore, Schlein illustrated ECBC's improvement process of industry vehicles, such as the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle and the Heavy Equipment Truck, for the protection of the warfighter in the field.

"Working on four to five projects at any given time, our key to success is implementing an ideal mix of old and new technologies and creating elegant and simple solutions," Schlein said. "At the end of the day, our main goal is to save as many lives as possible."

While explaining the manufacturing process of ECBC products Aca,!aEURc such as the deployable shelter for mobile labs Aca,!aEURc to the students, ECBC Senior Mechanical Engineer Chika Nzelibe highlighted the advantage of the Center's full life-cycle support that encompasses research, engineering, testing and operations, and makes the development process extremely efficient.

"With the entire set of capabilities under one umbrella, we can make anything at ECBC," Nzelibe said. "Executing complex projects and delivering total concept-to-product solutions, we immediately respond to Uncle Sam's requests, but also work for the industry."

Opening the doors of the Sample Receipt Facility to students for the first time, ECBC offered the NJSHS group the once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to tour the inside of the only building where the U.S. Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security will work hand-in-hand.

"We are nationally the only facility that can receive, triage, sample and screen unknown agents Aca,!aEURc whether chemical or biological," ECBC Chemical Engineering Technician Chris Druyor said, showing the students the SRF's capacities, to include its mobile labs that are deployable to overseas locations.

Participating in the NJSHS competition, the regional winners have conducted in-depth research and experimentations on STEM-related topics such as bio alternatives to fuel, cancer cell research, marine toxicology, bovine mastitis, agent fate, and soil toxicology and its effects on plants.

"I have been working on the biological analysis of potatoes," said NJSHS student Akshai Baskaran from Washington State. "ECBC's facilities are absolutely fascinating and have exceeded my expectations. I would love to work at a place like this one day."

As the NJSHS group's escort for the day, ECBC Educational and Community Outreach Manager Mary Doak engaged in conversations with the nation's junior engineers and scientists on the go and over lunch, learning about the advanced nature of their work.

"It is such a pleasure to have these talented students at the Center, and I am blown away by the projects these students are already working on," Doak said. "The topics of their research make me think that they could start working in our labs today."

Only a few days after their ECBC visit, the NJSHS students introduced their project results at the 48th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Aca,!aEURc sponsored by the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Aca,!aEURc in Bethesda, Md. Before leaving ECBC, they briefly met Associate Technical Director James Baker, Ph.D., who has been a vital part of the center for more than four decades.

"On behalf of ECBC, I wish you all the best of luck and hope to see you at the center again soon," Baker said.

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Page last updated Wed May 12th, 2010 at 12:52