DURHAM, N.C. (Nov. 15, 2016) -- The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Army Research Office recently joined US2020 RTP, a nonprofit organization that facilitates science, technology, engineering and mathematics outreach and mentoring opportunities for underrepresented minorities, during its "Arts n' STEM" expo.

Program managers from ARO in the fields of chemistry, physics, mathematics and environmental, social and life sciences volunteered as speed mentors to students ranging from grades 5 to 12.

While participating, Drs. Paul Baker, Wesley Henderson, Laura Krnavek, Stephanie McElhinny, Matthew Munson, Virginia Pasour and Lisa Troyer shared their STEM career path during brief interviews with student participants.

The timed discussions provided students a glimpse into various STEM career opportunities, including those with the DOD and the Army.

"The speed mentoring session enabled students to meet briefly with several different STEM professionals, a format that I found very effective with respect to conveying the diversity of career options available within the STEM fields," said McElhinny, ARO's biochemistry program manager. "I think it's very valuable for students to appreciate that STEM is intertwined into almost every aspect of our lives and can open lots of different doors in the future -- this Arts n' STEM expo was a great venue to reinforce this message."

An additional unique aspect of the expo is its location.

Both the US2020 RTP organization and ARO are among many science and technology-oriented organizations housed in The Frontier building located in the Research Triangle Park area of Durham, North Carolina. The Frontier is self-proclaimed as RTP's centrally located spot to "plug in, collaborate and plan your next big move," officials said.

The Arts n' STEM expo is held in this space twice a year and an estimated 350 students from surrounding counties of North Carolina participated in this particular expo.

In addition to speed mentoring, the day's events included several presenters, displays and panelists from RTP and surrounding counties in North Carolina.

ReShockie Smith of ARO staffed a display promoting the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program, including the High School and Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Programs.

Both HSAP and URAP are cosponsored by ARO and the AEOP.

"Participating in a STEM event within such an innovative space was an excellent and rare opportunity to expose local youth to our programs and let others in the area know ARO is here and what we're about," Smith said.

Officials said ARO recognizes youth in STEM as an Army priority and will continue to support the AEOP, leverage its university partners and collaborate with organizations like the US2020 RTP in their biannual "Arts n' STEM Expo" to work toward creating communities where every child has the chance to explore and pursue a career in STEM, for a more vital nation, and a stronger Army."


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.