ABERDEEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity began another year of mentorship with Aberdeen Middle School for the 2013-2014 school year.

The program consists of monthly sessions with approximately 40 seventh to eighth grade students, combining mentor-planned in-school activities and field trips to the Maryland Science Center and University of Delaware Integrated Science Lab that are meant to encourage the students' curiosity and skills in different areas of math and science.

"This program will help me learn more about science and math. I also want to get into the Aberdeen High School Science & Math Academy, so this will prepare me for it," shared an 8th grade participant.

The program kicked off with a "Post-It® Design Challenge," where students were tasked to build a structure from up to 12 Post-It notes. Structures were constructed as far away from a workbench as possible, and had to support a penny. AMSAA mentors paired with 3-5 students to facilitate the problem and to challenge students to think critically and outside of the box. Students succeeded in creating unique structures, and the winning group supported a penny almost a foot away from the edge of the workbench.

"Most recently, the mentoring team attended the Aberdeen Middle School Career Fair, to inform kids on the job opportunities available if they are interested in obtaining a college degree in math or engineering," said Rachel Kozlowski, AMSAA mentor participant.

In the future, mentors and students will participate in monthly hands-on activities, coordinate guest speaker visits, and plan off-site field trips to expose students to math, science, and engineering concepts and careers.

"For example, we'll travel to the Maryland Science Center, have an astronaut guest speaker and we planned an 'Around the World Math Challenge' where students solve math problems and proceed to different 'cities' upon successful completion of problems per station," she explained.

Throughout past years, the mentors consistently receive positive feedback from the students as well as from the Aberdeen Middle School faculty coordinator.

"The excitement that spreads from the monthly sessions often prompts other students to inquire about joining the program," Kozlowski said. "The mentors enjoy it, as well. They get to share one-on-one what pursuing a career in math, science, or engineering, will allow the students to achieve -- like changing the world and making a better future for themselves and others."

"[AMSAA mentors] do such a great job, and the students really enjoy the activities," said Elizabeth Oleszczuk, Aberdeen Middle School guidance counselor.

For several years, a team of engineers and analysts from AMSAA has partnered with Aberdeen Middle School to mentor the young minds of tomorrow. The mission of the mentoring program is to encourage students to pursue college preparatory math and science classes in high school and to provide them with better opportunities to plan for careers in math, science, and engineering.