NATICK, Mass. – Fresh perspectives combined with an eagerness for new experiences met science and engineering expertise at a recent gathering welcoming summer students to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC.
During the student mixer, student employees learned about DEVCOM SC’s mission to ensure the nation’s warfighters are protected, optimized and lethal. Students were provided overviews about DEVCOM SC’s Soldier Effectiveness Directorate, Soldier Protection Directorate and Soldier Sustainment Directorate. They also received a tour of some of DEVCOM SC’s world-class facilities and capabilities, including the Doriot Climatic Chambers; Textile Equipment and Prototype Shop; Additive Manufacturing Lab; Design, Pattern and Prototype Studio; and Combat Feeding.
The event provided students and DEVCOM SC leadership/subject matter experts an invaluable opportunity to interact and get to know one another better. The student mixer reflected DEVCOM SC’s commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outreach and to mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers.
“STEM outreach is an integral part of our mission, bringing together experienced scientists and engineers with students and recent graduates,” said Douglas Tamilio, director of DEVCOM SC. “Mentors play a key role in shaping and attracting new talent, and new talent invigorates our already top-notch organization.”
Virginia Rettie, a program analyst in DEVCOM SC’s G-1 Human Resources Office and the lead for the Student Employment and Recent Graduate Program, organized the event.
“The student mixer provided an opportunity for our student interns to tour our labs, learn more about our mission, and cultivate friendships among their peers to instill a sense of community,” said Rettie.
Rettie explained that DEVCOM SC leverages numerous DoD-funded student programs — including the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) Summer Research Internship Program and the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program — to attract a larger and more diverse candidate pool.
She noted that the internship program is a way to educate students about careers at DEVCOM SC and to attract top talent.
“The G-1 HR Office utilizes the Student Employment Program as our primary talent pipeline, recruiting talented STEM and non-STEM students from across the country to fill internship positions,” said Rettie. “Our intent is to groom these high-performing college students for positions in the workforce upon graduation.”
The Student Employment Program benefits both the organization as well as the individual students.
Victoria Ayotte is a student trainee working in Soldier Protection Directorate. She is majoring in Chemistry at Framingham State University.
“Being a student trainee has been an incredible experience,” said Ayotte. “I was uncertain of the path that I wanted to take after I finished my undergraduate degree, but working here has helped me shape my future. I have a plan and a better understanding on where I would like to end up. EMDT (Emerging Materials Development Team) has been a tremendous opportunity for me, and I am so thankful for everyone on my team for helping me along the way. DEVCOM SC has benefited my studies and career by helping me gain valuable work experience. I now know that I want to further my education and start a career here. This is an excellent place to work, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings and what else I learn as my time advances here.”
Her experiences as a student trainee have led to Ayotte to decide to become a DEVCOM SC chemist when she graduates.
“My favorite part about being at DEVCOM Soldier Center is the sense of community that we have here,” said Ayotte. “Everyone that I have met is extremely friendly and open to helping you advance in any way they can. My supervisor and other team members have worked together to ensure I make the most out of my time here — whether that be learning new equipment and tests or talking to others and getting advice on where I want to see myself in the future. There are people with varying backgrounds, and it is nice to gain knowledge on everyone’s experiences and their own educational paths. I have learned a great deal from all of the people here, and it has been the best decision I could have made joining this workforce.”
New summer interns are also excited about the experiences and career possibilities that come with interning at DEVCOM SC.
Carlos Montilla Gonzalez is a new summer intern and part of the DoD HBCU/MI Summer Research Internship Program. Gonzalez is working at the Center for Applied Brain and Cognitive Sciences, a cooperative research center that is jointly managed by Tufts University and DEVCOM SC.
During the student event, Gonzalez expressed his enthusiasm for finding out more about DEVCOM SC and its mission.
“I’m excited to learn as much as I can,” said Gonzalez.
DEVCOM SC’s director told the students that they are a “great asset” to the organization.
“We are here to provide capabilities for our Soldiers,” said Tamilio. “What you are doing is a part of that.”
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.