By Jane Benson, Solider Center Public AffairsAugust 23, 2018
NATICK, Mass. -- The future looked bright at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Soldier Center's 12th Annual Future Workforce Poster Presentation, which was hosted recently by the DCS G-1/Human Resources Team.
The event showcased the science and technology excellence while providing students with the chance to gain invaluable presentation and public-speaking skills while recounting their learning/working experiences at the Soldier Center.
During their time at the center, students learn about careers in product development, solutions and technologies for the warfighter and benefits from interaction with renowned scientists and engineers.
The Future Workforce Poster Presentation serves as an important part of the Soldier Center's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, outreach and future workforce initiative.
Duane Young, training coordinator G-1\Human Resources, coordinated the event.
"The student poster presentation is an annual event that allows our students to showcase to the NSRDEC workforce the projects that they have been working on during their time here at NSRDEC," said Young. "The event allows our workforce to meet and interact with our students and engage in great discussions with them about their projects. For many of our students, this will be their first foray into the world of being a briefer/presenter, so it helps to build skills and qualities that they will need in the future. This event also allows the students to see what their fellow colleagues have been working on while here."
Alanna Coughlin, a student working in the Combat Feeding Directorate, was one of the presenters at the Future Workforce Poster Presentation Day. Coughlin worked with fellow student Adrian Ajro on a presentation focusing on CFD's efforts to increase fruit and vegetables in Meals, Ready-to-Eat, or MREs.
Coughlin, who is a biology major at Worcester State University, was on the Combat Ration Engineering & Support Team, or CREST. Coughlin had the opportunity to learn from her team leader, Mary Nash, as well as subject matter experts, Julie Smith and Britni Roy.
"I have worked on the CREST team for the last six years. What I like most about working at NSRDEC is that for the six years I have been here, there has always been a new mission or experience within our directorate that I have been able to be a part of," said Coughlin. "So while my day-to-day tasks may remain pretty much the same I know that in the summer there is always something new and different that I can participate in -- which helps keep things fresh."
Student presenter Michelle Lin is finishing her first summer in the Soldier Protection & Survivability Directorate. Lin, who is a Psychology and Criminal Justice major at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, worked on the Design, Pattern & Prototype Team and with the Textile Materials Evaluation Team.
Lin worked on developing a U.S. Custom and Border Protection Fabric Test Database to help establish standards and requirements regarding the quality and function of uniforms. She was supervised by Annette LaFleur, team leader for the Design, Pattern & Prototype Team, and was mentored by Laurra Winters, team leader for the Textile Materials Evaluation Team.
"Working here at NSRDEC, I am given a huge variety of things to work on," said Lin. "Every day I am working on something new which exposes me to learning new things. One day I will be doing physical testing on parachutes in the lab, the next day I am pre-testing in the Arctic Rain room. There's lots to learn here at NSRDEC and I know that I am being mentored by the best. This internship has been very insightful and eye opening to say the least."
In addition to obtaining real-world work experience, students find the work itself incredibly meaningful.
"Knowing that what I am working on is helping the warfighter is one thing I love about being able to work here," said Coughlin.
"It honestly feels amazing to know that the work that I am doing helps the warfighter," said Lin. "Being able to see the effects of the work that we all do here at NSRDEC and how it supports our troops, it truly is a great feeling. Being able to say I worked alongside others to accomplish our main mission of protecting and aiding the warfighter is something that I will never forget. It has even sparked my interest in continuing to work to support our troops in this way if the opportunity arises."
As coordinator of the event, Young is impressed with the dedication of the student participants.
"We have a wide array of students from all over the United States, so there is a wide range of talent and varying levels of technical expertise," said Young. "It's amazing the work that they do. For them to know and comprehend that what they have been doing isn't just some sort of summer project, that what they are doing could, and probably will, have a huge impact on Soldiers, is very impressive."
The U.S. Army Soldier Center 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.