NATICK, Mass. -- The 13th Annual Future Workforce Poster Presentation took place at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center on August 15. The event showcased the CCDC Soldier Center's science and technology excellence by highlighting work performed by CCDC SC's renowned scientists and engineers and the students that they mentored. The event also provided student mentees with the chance to garner invaluable presentation and public-speaking skills.

The Future Workforce Poster Presentation serves as an important part of CCDC SC's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, outreach and CCDC SC's future workforce initiative.

CCDC SC is dedicated to using science and technology to ensure America's warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. CCDC SC supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the CCDC SC's chief areas of focus. The center's science and engineering expertise are combined with collaborations with industry, DOD, and academia to advance Soldier and squad performance. The center supports the Army as it transforms from being adaptive to driving innovation to support a Multi-Domain Operations Capable Force of 2028 and a MDO Ready Force of 2035. CCDC SC is constantly working to strengthen Soldiers' performance to increase readiness and support for warfighters who are organized, trained, and equipped for prompt and sustainable ground combat.

CCDC SC's Human Resources Team hosted the event, which was coordinated by Duane Young, a program analyst in G-1\Human Resources. The event featured poster presentations by student interns, trainees, and student volunteers from several colleges and universities.

During their time at CCDC SC, students learn about careers developing products, solutions and technologies for the warfighter and benefit from interaction with CCDC SC's scientists and engineers. They also receive the all-important opportunity to help solve real-world Soldier problems.
Topics presented by students during the event ranged from a "New Methodology to Assess Health and Environmental Impact of Flame-Resistance Textiles" to the "Joint Expeditionary Collective Protection System" to "Combat Ration Consistency Measures" -- to name just a few of the posters presented.

Jihan Eljadidi was one of the many student presenters. Eljadidi is studying Civil Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has served as a Pathways intern in the Expeditionary Maneuver Support Directorate at CCDC SC. She worked on the Joint Expeditionary Collective Protection System, which is designed to protect groups of warfighters who are on the move and exposed to various threats. Devon Ferreira, also a student, presented the project poster with Eljadidi.

Eljadidi was mentored by Tom Reynolds, branch lead for Expeditionary Protection Branch in EMSD.
Eljadidi appreciated the supportive atmosphere created by many at CCDC SC and the importance of CCDC SC's work.

"I've had the opportunity to work with knowledgeable and helpful people who really took the time to explain things," said Eljadidi. "The work is interesting and important as well as personal. My brother is in the Army and many people have brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters serving in the military and this work benefits them directly. I am interested in doing this type of work in the future."

Eljadidi explained the invaluable experience she gained while working at CCDC SC.

"We worked on a few things regarding the Stand Alone Large, or SAL, enclosure in the Joint Expeditionary Collective Protection, or JECP, family of systems," said Eljadidi. "We helped to develop, assemble, and test a kit that Soldiers in the field could use to test whether or not a filter unit was working properly. We have also been helping to modify various components in the JECP to decrease complexity, shipping costs, and manufacturing costs."

To help attendees at the poster presentation better understand the project, the display also included a video showing the use of a Fan Filter Assembly to pressurize the toxic-free area of the SAL enclosure.

The SAL system provides a toxic-free area to protect up to 20 personnel and equipment from chemical and biological, or CB, contamination while supporting Command and Control and Rest and Relief operations. The SAL includes a shelter, CB liner, generator, electrical distribution, environmental control unit, airlock, and a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, or CBRN, filtration system.

The dedication of the student participants at the Future Workforce Poster Presentation was notable.

"Our students come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, from schools all over New England, and across the country," said Young. "The time they spend here allows them to put the skills they are learning in school into action. They also gain great exposure to CCDC SC's mission, the vast array of research and development that occurs here, and where else their skills may be applied. It's amazing the work that they do. For them to know and see that what they have been doing isn't just some summer project, that what they are doing could, and probably will, have a huge impact on our Soldiers is very impressive."

Annette LaFleur is one of the many CCDC SC employees that serves as a mentor to students and to new employees. She believes strongly in the importance of mentoring.

"Having a sponsor, mentors, an engaged team leader and supporting teammates to help you get acquainted with daily operations and business processes is a must," said LaFleur, team leader for the Design, Pattern and Prototype Team in the Soldier Protection and Survivability Directorate at CCDC SC. "More importantly, I like to ensure the employee is personally introduced to subject matter experts related to their career field and mission space, take a walking tour to become familiar with technical resources -- labs, equipment, materials, support teams, etc. -- as well as exposure to an array of projects that introduce them to their competency areas. Shadowing or assisting a more senior employee helps the employee formulate working relationships and immediately be involved in project work. The sooner they are exposed to working with Soldiers, the better they can understand and relate to the improvements or new capabilities their projects will bring to the field."

Through the mentoring relationships, students learn a great deal about science and technology career opportunities at CCDC SC and CCDC SC benefits from their presence.

"New hires view R&D challenges through a fresh lens and can help steer innovation in new directions," said LaFleur.