By Cassandra Mainiero (Public Affairs Intern)July 24, 2013
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (July 24, 2013) --- School may be out for the summer, but for at least one New Jersey Institute of Technology program, the learning didn't stop.
In its summer program for Women in Engineering and Technology Initiative, also known as FEMME8, NJIT a few lucky female middle school students were given the opportunity to tour Picatinny Arsenal on July 23 to show students potential careers for those interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
"I like how Picatinny shows how the equipment can be incorporated with engineering," commented Rekha Tubjula, one of NJIT's teaching assistants.
The initiative is a five-week program designed for eighth-grade girls to enhance their mathematics, science and technological academic knowledge through field trips, discussions, experiments, and projects, according to NJIT's website.
Its goal, however, is not only to share knowledge. The program aims to help develop problem-solving, critical thinking skills, as well as promote self-esteem and self-confidence in career fields where women are traditionally underrepresented
This year, as coordinated by NJIT's Center of Pre-College Program, the program's participants consisted of 22 8th-grade students and three chaperones. The participants visited several of Picatinny's facilities, including the Armament Integration Facility, and were provided with brief overviews of programs, such as the Armored Vehicle Fire Control and Future Systems.
One memorable stop on the agenda included the Innovation Lab, where engineers showed the students how to align a weapon system optically and digitally. They also showed students the characteristics of a weapon, including the machinery's weight and the rounds it produces.
"I like it [Picatinny] because it shows that there is other careers in the Army more than battle," said Donya Burgess, another teaching assistant for NJITT. "It's an insight to behind the scenes."
FEMME8 is sponsored by UNITE, a Technology Student Association program, and funded by the U.S. Army Research Office.