By Antwaun ParrishMarch 26, 2019
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea - The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program allows school-age children to participate in learning-enrichment activities that exposes them to aspirational careers for their future.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED) continues to do its part in ensuring school-age children within the community are exposed to varying STEM programs throughout the school year. The district hosted a STEM Career Shadow Day March 21, where six students of Humphreys Middle School were briefed by employees on their role within the district, participated in practical exercises, and toured construction sites around the base.
Shane Kobialka, a district engineer, has been volunteering with the STEM program for the past four years. He began working with the program by volunteering to participate in the local elementary school's STEM day event.
"STEM events are designed to be educational while also being fun and interactive," said Kobialka. "By allowing our students to be hands-on, we engage their senses. Most of our activities are designed to be repeatable at home, so whether they are learning about fluid dynamics with a hair dryer and a ping-pong ball, or structural engineering using paper cups, when the students get excited, they take these activities to their families and repeat them, reinforcing what they have learned and hopefully developing that interest in the STEM fields."
The FED is constantly engaged with contractors developing structures in multiple locations throughout the peninsula. These sites offer the STEM program a unique experience within their learning.
"For this event, we had an older group of students, so we were able to walk them through the design and construction process at an understandable level," said Kobialka. "Being amongst so many construction sites at different completion levels, they should now be able to look at projects with a new perspective."
Kobialka went on to state that whether the students realize it or not, every time they notice construction activity on base, it will reinforce the STEM fields and what they learned here at FED.
Although Kobialka lead this event, it takes teamwork in order to execute a well-developed STEM event that supports the programs mission of enriching student's lives.
"I could never have pulled this off without the support of everyone involved," said Kobialka. "Having unique perspectives from the different branches within FED has helped to shape this successful and hopefully memorable program.
The students of the STEM program at Camp Humphreys are able to take the lessons they learn from district employees with varying amounts of experience and use that knowledge to help them construct their future.
"The goal for our involvement in the STEM program here at USAG-Humphreys is to inspire youth to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," said Kobialka.