ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- More than 400 local students, teachers and school administrators converged here Nov. 18 for APG's bi-annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Expo.

The STEM event was held at three locations across the installation where scientists and engineers engaged the ninth-grade students from Baltimore City and Cecil and Harford County schools in hands-on activities designed to spark their interest in STEM careers. Students were also provided information about the educational opportunities available to them through the Army Educational Outreach Program.

At the STEM Education and Outreach Center, students were exposed to a materials lab, a neuroscience lab, computer modeling and a robotics lab.

At the C4ISR venue, students engaged in a mission command experience, electronic warfare demos, network technologies, software replication, radio communications, power and environmental testing activities.

At the Chemical Demilitarization Training Facility, professionals from the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives defense community treated the students to activities that demonstrated careers available at APG.

"I really enjoy the hands-on activities," said Mac Johnson, a student at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore City. "It's not every day I can build my own stereo using copper, magnets, plastic cups and an amplifier."

Johnson is a part of the Dreamers and Achievers program at his school and aspires to pursue computer science in college, with a particular interest in exploring video game design.

"I'll take my aspirations for playing games and start being a creator of them," he said. "It's almost as if you're in control of your own little world where everything you do affects all the possible outcomes of what happens."

At the ECBeatC Audio station, students used magnets to build and test speakers, touching on elements of electrical and mechanical engineering. At another, students were given the opportunity to use 3D printers, a design technology the Army uses to create the latest advancements in equipment. Others used spectroscopes to observe lines through various sources of light or conducted forensic examinations of letters containing white powder to bolster their interest in chemistry.

"This event is great exposure for APG," said Suzanne Milchling, U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center's Director of Program Integration. "We can carry our message into the community and students are able to learn what careers the Army has to offer. As a parent of children who are using their STEM education to pursue careers in the medical field, I see the benefit of these types of events."

"Our goal is to enhance interest in STEM and provide students with a one-of-a-kind exposure to advanced technologies, which present a unique perspective on the importance of these critical fields to our Nation," said APG Commanding General Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford.

Participating agencies included the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center; the U.S. Army Research Laboratory; the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity; the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity; the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Joint Science and Technology Office; the Joint Project Manager-Elimination; the U.S. Army Public Health Command; the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives; the Army Educational Outreach Program;the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command; the Army Test and Evaluation Command; PEO Intelligence Electronic Warfare and Sensors; and PEO Command; Control Communications - Tactical.