STEM outreach at RTC

By Megan HarrisAugust 1, 2022

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 21, 2022) – The idea that knowledge should be shared is a concept the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center, known as RTC, fully supports. That’s why this year RTC jumped at the chance to mentor two Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, educators in an effort to continue that transfer of information to middle and high students all over the country.

The Army educational outreach program Research Experience for STEM Educators and Teachers, known as RESET, provides teachers with summer research experiences and enhances laboratory test knowledge while at RTC. The primary goal of RESET is to reinforce teachers’ content knowledge through research experiences and interactions with U.S. Army and Department of Defense scientists and engineers.

RESET funds high school and upper middle school teachers of science, math, and engineering with applicable technical experience. Sarah Cooper and Dr. Ashley Carter are the first RTC RESET participants. Engineers at RTC served as mentors to Cooper and Carter by providing time, knowledge, and expertise as they develop technical lesson plans for their students this fall.

Cooper is a high school chemistry teacher from Las Vegas, Nevada. She says her interest as a teacher and RESET participant allowed her to combine teaching and research by incorporating her experiences into lesson planning and hands-on research for her classroom. Cooper’s research has been published, she has served as a student research advocate, and was a former medical lab tech while serving in the Army Reserves. This is her second year in the RESET program.

Carter is a middle school science teacher from New York City. She says her teaching experience in NYC inspired her to participate in the RESET program. Carter has published research and presented research across the United States, served as a mentor for various programs, and she is a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives  Military Officer in the Army National Guard.

Their experiences at RTC focused on materials analysis and proper data collection when utilizing precision laboratory equipment. They were able to support RTC by focusing on the utilization of 3D printers to create useful lab stands and fixtures. The teachers also had the opportunity to experience various demonstrations of the engineering design process while at the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects  Division, including shadowing electrical engineers to learn the engineering design and prototype processes and to see first-hand how engineers apply principles within a lab setting.

“The extent of the impact by these educators and RTC’s participation is to help make STEM more accessible to middle and high school students, regardless of their backgrounds,” said Collyn Mann, director of RTC’s Environmental and Component Test Directorate. “Fostering an interest in critical thinking while conducting research and experimentation is essential to our ongoing support of STEM programs.”

These RESET educators wrapped up their four-week experience at RTC in mid-July and are now heading back to their students armed with new experiences to enhance their STEM instruction.

The U.S. Army Redstone Test Center is located on Redstone Arsenal and is a subordinate organization of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command. RTC provides technical expertise, state-of-the-art facilities, and capabilities to plan, conduct, analyze, and report the results of tests of missile and aviation systems, subsystems and components.