Lab dedicated to former NSRDEC employee
Susan Butler, left, acting director of Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center, greets Nancy Porter at the Dec. 9, 2010, dedication of the Dr. William Porter Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Laboratory, named for Porter's late husband.

Scientists and engineers from throughout the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center gathered Dec. 9 in the Grant Conference Center to remember a former colleague and honor the Army's commitment to education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The ceremony marked the official opening of the Dr. William Porter Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Laboratory. This facility, a joint effort between the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate and the Warfighter Science, Technology, and Applied Research Directorate, provides a centralized resource for local students to access advanced equipment and the unmatched scientific expertise of the NSRDEC.

Porter was a longtime employee at the NSRDEC, beginning in 1953 and continuing until his death in 2009. A research chemist at DoD CFD, his work focused on antioxidant chemistry and the effects of high-temperature storage on military rations. In addition to his significant efforts in the lab, he was well known in the NSRDEC community as a mentor and had tremendous interest in developing future generations of scientific investigators.

The event began with remarks from Dr. John Gassner, Director of WarSTAR, and Susan Butler, acting director of NSRDEC, who discussed the importance of STEM education to the continued success of the NSRDEC. Gerry Darsch, Director of DoD CFD, described his experiences learning from Porter as a "young food technologist." Lieutenant Colonel Brian Wood, representing the Natick Soldier Systems Center, presented Nancy Porter, Porter's widow, with a note from Brig. Gen. Harold Greene and the commanding general's coin.

After Nancy Porter officially opened the lab by cutting a ceremonial ribbon, members of the NSRDEC community had the opportunity to view the new facility, filled with the tailored experiments made possible by this new space.

"The STEM Lab will be a great resource both for the NSRDEC and for our local community," Darsch said. "It will allow us to contribute to that critical mission and ensure that America continues to generate the best technology possible to benefit both the military and commercial sectors."

Those interested in becoming involved with NSRDEC's STEM Outreach activities can contact Megan O'Brien at

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16