Engineering interns meet with Gen. Ward
August 2, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany - Engineering interns from three U.S. universities took a day off of their daily tasks to meet with Gen. William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, July 26, 2010.
The interns, from North Carolina A&T State, Morgan State, and Tennessee State Universities, have been working in Wiesbaden, Germany for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe since June 2010 as part of a summer program sponsored by the non-profit organization "Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering" (AIME).
Ward expressed how proud he was of the interns who are part of an underrepresented percentage of minority students pursuing engineering careers.
"The fact that you're pursuing this program, that's a big deal," said Ward. "It is a big deal from the standpoint of what you're doing now, but as importantly, what will be available to you down the road, and what you will do in contributing to this very important discipline."
Working alongside various project managers in Wiesbaden, the interns have gained first-hand experience on project and programs management, installation support, environmental engineering, and construction, among other areas. Several of the students have even traveled to Italy, the Netherlands, and other locations throughout Germany to provide support to U.S. Army projects there.
The interns shared how this experience has given them valuable opportunities for their future careers as well as their personal lives.
Brandon Randolph from Morgan State University said, "I would have to say the whole opportunity to go abroad is just the biggest thing you can do in life as a young person. I think it's helping us see what we want to do in life--if we want to further our career with the Army Corps of Engineers, or if we want to head another direction."
During their trip to Stuttgart, the students had the opportunity to talk with and ask questions to General Ward during an office call at the command headquarters. Later in the evening, the group attended a social at Ward's home where they also met his wife, Joyce.
"This experience has made me more well-rounded," said Rikita Bonner from Tennessee State University. "Coming over to Germany by yourself, not knowing anybody makes you mature a lot faster and it basically shows that you're adaptable. When I graduate, I'm willing to travel anywhere to wherever my job takes me. So I think that that experience in another country, actually doing what I will be doing in architectural and structural engineering actually gives me an advantage, gives me a foot in the door."
AMIE's purpose is to expand corporate, government and academic alliances. The program recruits, educates and trains minority students pursuing engineering careers. AMIE uses mentorships, international internships, and scholarships to motivate students and keep them focus on the goal of becoming engineers and diversify the workforce.
For more information on AMIE, visit <a href="http://www.amiepartnerships.org" target="_blank">www.amiepartnerships.org</a>.