USAG HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea — Employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Far East District (FED) met future generations of engineers and scientists at Humphreys elementary schools, during their Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) activities.
For the past two years, FED volunteers have virtually shared their STEAM expertise with USAG Humphreys elementary school children, amid the COVID-19 outbreak. However, this year’s events were held in-person, May 11 at Humphreys West Elementary School (HWES), and May 24 at Humphreys Central Elementary School (HCES).
“This is the tenth consecutive year that the District has engaged the schools for these events. The continued commitment shows great continuity in supportive leadership and volunteers,” said Denny Headrick, an application administrator and the STEAM coordinator for FED.
In 2013, USACE and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Korea District, signed an education partnership agreement at Seoul American High School centering on support for STEM initiative. The ‘A’ in the STEAM acronym adds an art curriculum to the mix, incorporating creative thinking and design into the STEM teachings.
“We get a lot of satisfaction from these events by engaging with the kids and potentially inspiring them to become future engineers. I am so proud to be involved with this group,” said Headrick.
During the STEAM Night at Humphreys West Elementary School, FED employees participated in the event with other volunteers from different companies, both on and off post. Station activities included experimenting with friction using toy race cars and learning about endangered species around the Humphreys area.
For HCES, the District volunteers set up six experiment stations, providing a hands-on and interactive experience for students.
“Doing the ‘franken-worms experiment’ with all the kids was extremely fun. Watching them get excited to see their gummy worms wiggle in their experiment was totally worth it,” said Laila Ireland, a records and information management specialist and STEAM event volunteer.
This was Ireland’s first time volunteering for this type of event.
“I was thoroughly impressed to see the children so interested in science. It reinforced the idea that when you make learning fun, kids of all ages will stay engaged, will love learning, and will be more inclined to explore different things.”
Ireland went on to say that you never know; just one simple experiment might be the light bulb moment that inspires a child to be a scientist for life. And it seemed that it was well worth her effort, when a first-grade student at the HCES franken-worms station, shouted out, “It’s super, duper fun!”
The District plans to continue the tradition of STEAM outreach, to motivate the scientific minds of future engineers and scientists, and to spark their interest as a future scientist or engineer.