FORT MONMOUTH, NJ -- Engineers and scientists from Fort Monmouth joined partners from the Department of Defense and Monmouth University to support student research in science and engineering at the 49th Annual Monmouth Junior Science Symposium at Monmouth University and Gibbs Hall March 31 - April 1.

The MJSS is a regional science competition for high school students from Monmouth County and surrounding areas. It is part of the national DoD-run Junior Science and Humanities Symposia program.

"We read and we hear all the time how in the STEM disciplines we don't seem to be excelling as a country anymore, and I say it time and time again, I don't think people are coming to these events," said Henry Muller, director, Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center, or CERDEC, Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate, during his opening remarks at the MJSS banquet. "If you take time and see what these young folks are doing, it's truly impressive; and I feel good and I know we are in good hands, and that the future of this country is in good hands."

High school students enrolled in public, private or home schools were eligible to submit research papers for the MJSS. Students conducted the research on their own, while under the advisement of a teacher.

"I like the fact that it was very independent. I did my own research, in my own school, so I didn't go out to another lab and I didn't have Ph.D.s work on my project. I like that I was in charge of what I was doing and that I was responsible for it," said Matthew Parr, Freehold High School.

During the two-day event, chosen students presented their research through paper and poster presentations to judges from DoD, academia and industry. They also got an up-close look at Army technology through demos and information booths from CERDEC and the Armament Research Development and Engineering Center stationed at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ. Displayed technologies included power sources, a battlefield video teleconferencing system, multi-touch technology, Smartphone applications for the battlefield and a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV.

"These events are important because we are raising another generation of leaders in the science and technology field, and especially as we're going forward in the information age, where it's vitally important, we have to raise interests and get awareness out there," said Donald Coulter, computer scientist, CERDEC Command and Control Directorate.

The top five winners from the MJSS will compete in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in San Diego, Ca. April 27 - May 1. All students who presented in the MJSS received plaques and awards from the DoD, academia and industry sponsors, honoring their achievement of being chosen to participate in the symposium.

"In general, when you're talking in front of knowledgeable people in this type of setting you always tend to learn from it. Even though you may think you know more about the topic than anyone else, you learn more about yourself and the topic as you present it," said Vijay Narayan, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South.

As CERDEC nears its completion of transitioning to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the center will continue to support STEM education through programs like the Maryland regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

"The CERDEC Outreach Program Office looks forward to supporting events like the MJSS because we know the importance of securing our nation's competitive edge in science and technology," said Yolanda Henry, CERDEC Outreach Program specialist.

CERDEC plans to provide its final year of support to the MJSS at the symposium's 50th anniversary next year.

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