ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- As mentors to local community schools, two Army researchers recently helped a student publish her capstone project efforts.

Operations research analyst Daniel Barker and research general engineer Karen Coyne, Ph.D., from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, supported Briana Elmore, a senior at Aberdeen's Science and Mathematics Academy, over the past year. Elmore achieved outstanding capstone project results and became co-author of a peer-reviewed presentation and technical report entitled, "Field of View of Commercial Air-Purifying Respirators".

Her research results will be presented May 18 at the 2011 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo, a premier event for thousands of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore.

Drawing from her experience as a cooperative education student at the U.S. Coast Guard Electronics Engineering Center, Coyne passed on the educational value of mentorships that motivated her to stay in the engineering career field. She strongly believes in engaging students in the application of real-world science, technology, engineering and math experiences through mentoring.

"We have the ability to shape students' interest in STEM by showing them science in action," Coyne said. "I truly enjoy providing students guidance throughout the entire life cycle of their projects."

Barker started his government career in the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program and the Federal Junior Fellowship Program, and had mentorship support early on. He finds it rewarding to help local students expand their knowledge of STEM concepts and apply them to relevant real-world problems.

"Mentoring a student who works as independently and is as driven as Briana allowed us to use her research skills for a meaningful project that we were able to steer and that helped her excel quickly," he said. "Her literature review clearly demonstrates her ability to compete with undergraduate students."

After a tour of ECBC's Protection Factor Testing facility, Elmore decided to test military and first-responder respirator technologies as part of her senior capstone project. To compile and analyze relevant data, she independently performed testing procedures on commercial air-purifying respirators (APR) in an ECBC laboratory and generated successful results.

"She used standardized testing procedures to measure the peripheral field of view of various commercial APRs and to quantify their vision limitations," Coyne explained.

"During an interim presentation at her school, she conveyed project background and results exceptionally well and knew what she was doing. I had nothing to add," Barker added.

Both mentors emphasized Elmore's exceptional talent and motivation to understand, implement and execute engineering concepts.

"We put the project into a relevant context, highlighted the importance of attention to detail for the operational performance in law enforcement and the military, and explained the required testing methodologies for this project," Barker said.

"After we showed her a method once, we did not have to show her a second time. She just rolled with the guidance we gave her and was always way ahead of the game," he added.

Proving herself an invaluable team member, Elmore has been nominated to support respirator-related research at ECBC through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education over the summer Ac"a,! the same way her mentor Coyne began her career.

"Daniel and I agree that Briana has been fabulous to work with," Coyne said. "I would encourage colleagues to take advantage of mentoring opportunities as these kids are capable of doing real work and can be as beneficial to a team as a college intern."

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