Natick, Mass. – Women scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC, participated in a prestigious event celebrating women’s accomplishments. The event took place recently at the Museum of Science in Boston, Mass.
Three women engineers and scientists from DEVCOM SC showcased some of the center’s contributions to Soldier protection and Soldier sustainment.
Michelle Richardson, a research food technologist in the Combat Feeding Division of the Soldier Sustainment Directorate, displayed a variety of military rations and components. Richardson provided an overview of the military field feeding items, as well as a demo of the flameless ration heater. The display also included Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs); Meal, Cold Weather; Hot Weather Modular Operational Ration Enhancement (MORE), and the Close Combat Assault Ration (CCAR).
Richardson noted that attendees showed interest in food science and asked a lot of questions. She said that the number of women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has been increasing but the numbers are still very limited.
“Participating in STEM activities is an excellent way to boost women's interest in STEM fields,” said Richardson. “These types of interactions not only increase awareness of what DEVCOM SC does for the warfighter, they also strengthen partnerships with the local community.”
Anita Perkins displayed advances in military footwear at the event. Perkins serves as the technical lead for the Army Combat Boot Improvement effort and is a footwear research engineer in DEVCOM SC’s Soldier Protection Directorate. She also leads the cross-service Female Fit and Size effort that conducted evaluations to help determine if female warfighters are adequately accommodated by current combat and safety footwear.
The military footwear display included a poster showing an operational footwear view of the Army’s military footwear environmental and terrain capabilities. The display also featured test samples from the Female Fit and Size effort, including male and female lasts (lasts are the mechanical forms shaped like a foot that are used to construct footwear). The display showed combat boots made on a male-specific last and boots made on a female-specific last.
Perkins emphasized DEVCOM SC’s commitment to meeting the needs of female warfighters.
“I enjoyed sharing military footwear-related research at the event,” said Perkins. “With this being a Women in STEM event, it was important to not only have representation of women researchers, engineers, and scientists, but it was also important to show that DEVCOM SC includes the needs of female warfighters either through design features at the initial research stage or through user feedback. Some civilians as well as military attendees were not familiar with our research. It was nice to share all of DEVCOM SC’s research and capabilities that support the warfighter.”
Zoe Rosenberg, Ph.D., a textile technologist in DEVCOM SC’s Soldier Protection Directorate, also participated in the Museum of Science event. The Soldier Center display showcased DEVCOM SC’s contributions to female Army uniforms and the Army Tactical Bra, which is designed to meet the performance needs of female Soldiers.
“It was a great event to inform the general public about what the Soldier Center does to support our warfighters,” said Yoojeong Kim, Ph.D, who serves as the lead for DEVCOM SC’s Innovation & Outreach Team. “People were excited to look at different rations and to learn about Combat Feeding’s work on meals for astronauts and Air Force pilots. People were also interested in our military footwear display and were impressed by how much lighter new boots were compared to older boots. Many people were also interested in the Soldier Center’s development of clothing and equipment specifically for female Soldiers, including the Army Tactical Bra. Many attendees from Massachusetts said they were previously unaware of our mission, and this event definitely increased awareness about DEVCOM SC and about what our scientists and engineers are doing to serve the warfighter.”
DEVCOM SC’s participation in the Museum of Science event reflected the organization’s overall commitment to promoting STEM outreach and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers.
About DEVCOM Soldier Center: The DEVCOM Soldier Center is committed to discovering, developing, and advancing science and technology solutions that ensure America’s warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. DEVCOM Soldier Center supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the DEVCOM Soldier Center’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. DEVCOM Soldier Center 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.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) outreach and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers are also an important part of the mission of DEVCOM Soldier Center. The mentoring of students by Army scientists and engineers benefits the students and their communities. It also increases young people's awareness of potential Army job opportunities and helps provide the Army with potential new talent, helping to fuel innovative ideas that benefit the nation's warfighters and the nation as a whole.
DEVCOM Soldier Center is part of DEVCOM. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.