PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – After a two-year pause, a popular event to encourage young women to enter technical careers was held here on Feb. 23 with renewed vigor, attracting students from 28 high schools.
The “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event was last held in 2020 before restrictions related to the COVID pandemic caused a two-year delay. This year, 112 girls attended the event, which is designed to encourage, educate, and inspire young girls to pursue a degree in the various fields of engineering.
Picatinny Arsenal is particularly well suited to provide information on the practical applications of engineering skills, since several of its tenant organizations are engaged in projects and programs that require leading edge technologies.
Displays at the event covered a broad range of topics, including software engineering, chemical engineering, energetics and warheads, human stress and performance, precision targeting sensors and networks, as well as naval systems integration ashore and afloat.
In his opening remarks, Picatinny Arsenal’s Senior Commander, Brig. Gen. John T. Reim, noted that Picatinny Arsenal’s expertise in armaments and ammunition means that the workforce here is closely involved in the development of the Army’s future initiatives.
“Hopefully, this opens up the potential opportunity for the future for you to consider,” said Reim, who added that he would be available to talk with anyone who might have any questions. The general also encouraged students to engage with the amazing female engineers, scientists, and program managers at the event to hear their stories of service at Picatinny Arsenal, and their contributions to the armaments and ammunition mission.
Some of the girls in attendance had some exposure to technical fields through their participation in high school robotics teams. Others were exploring their career options, and eager to learn more about educational pathways.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to go specifically into engineering, but I definitely want to go into science,” said Oksana Hryvnak-Sukharyna, a student at Roxbury High School. “I’m very interested in astronomy. Finding out how the universe works is so fascinating. I’m finding the chemical engineering stuff here interesting.”
Brenda Olivera-Hernandez, a student at Bound Brook High School, said she had an interest in engineering at an early age although a degree choice is not fully formed. “As a child I wanted to go into engineering a lot, so I was seeing if this would make me go more into engineering instead of the medical field,” she said. “I kind of want to do both in general. Now, I think might want to go more into engineering.”
The recent “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event was the ninth to be held at Picatinny. A total of 212 guests attended, including the students and adults.
Participants included representatives from regional universities and community colleges. The event program listed the college majors associated with the systems or programs on display at each table.
Picatinny-based organizations that participated in the event include the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center, the Joint Program Executive Office Armaments and Ammunition, Project Manager Soldier Lethality, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division’s Picatinny Detachment. The event was coordinated by the Armaments Center’s STEM office.