ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - A room filled with Hispanic music welcomed participants for the 8th Annual HENAAC College Bowl Competition to San Diego Oct. 11.

HENAAC is a Hispanic engineer national achievement awards conference and competition.

Students from all over the country filled the room with excitement, energy and healthy competition as they took part in the College Bowl Competition, a high energy competition that showcased future leaders of corporate America. Focusing on creativity, motivation and teambuilding, the competitions provided leadership and professional development training.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command served as an ambassador-level sponsor to the 19th Annual HENAAC Conference Oct. 11 to 13.

RDECOM placed fourth out of 28 teams, and won four out of five student competitions during the conference.

"This is my second year participating and I love it," said Gloria Hubner, senior at University of Texas-Pan American and RDECOM student team member. "I'm in a very fortunate group this year." Hubner will graduate as an electrical engineer in December.

The College Bowl kicked off with the first competition, an accelerated job fair where students had one minute to sell themselves to company representatives. The companies then choose their top candidates to compete on their teams.

RDECOM's team was comprised of 10 students. Cheers and chants filled the remainder of the event. Teams were given five challenges, including a resume writing competition, workshops and various scenarios and quizzes. All challenges required a group effort and emphasize teamwork and time management skills. The event culminated with a career fair with big name companies in the science and engineering fields.

The energy and excitement among the students was amazing, said RDECOM College Bowl Coach Kashia Simmons.

"It was exciting to see the personal leadership qualities that emerged while working on projects during the workshops," said Simmons.

One student said the resume workshop was very helpful.

"I haven't used resumes before, but being in this workshop helps a lot. It was definitely a stepping stone in the right direction," said Ian McNicholas, student at Purdue University at Calumet.

The event helped students get to know the industry they hope to join, and what it will take to get a job. RDECOM also participated in a career fair at the end of the conference, where the Command collected over 200 resumes from prospective student hires.

"This [college bowl] gives companies a chance to get to know us [students]," said Norberto Rivera, student at the University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana.

Many students have a misconception about what it means to work for the Army, said Jose Gonzalez, Army Research Lab, chief, Modeling and Simulation Support Branch and RDECOM College Bowl coach. "'Do I have to enlist'' This is the question I get most asked when interacting with college students. This event enabled us to clarify what it means work for the Army as a civilian."

"I thought you had to join the Army to work for the military," said Hubner. "It turns out that you don't and that was an eye opener."

RDECOM wants the best and the brightest working for their organization, said Katie Everett, RDECOM Corporate Communications. "No matter what type of engineer you are, we have a place for you in RDECOM."