ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- A career in science will be a valuable asset for a student's future, Army leaders said Sept. 23 during the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Educational Outreach Day.

Gary Martin, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command executive deputy to the commanding general, said choosing a career in a STEM field will be in demand because those subjects encompass everyday life.

"Everything you see in your life is built based on the work of scientists and engineers," Martin said. "How many people have an iPhone? The iPhone has a whole slew of inventions in it. It has a battery, display, GPS receiver, communications and radio."

Centuries of research and development, starting with Alessandro Volta's invention of the battery in 1800, led to today's capabilities.

"It created the capability for engineers to use those technologies in the iPhone. Those capabilities are reflected here today," he said, referencing the rows of Army technology on display.

About 400 middle-school students from Harford and Cecil counties arrived at Downer Hall to explore 56 exhibit booths, as well as vehicle and mobile laboratory displays. It was the second day of the 2011 Team CBRNE Capabilities Showcase, which was sponsored by eight organizations from APG's Edgewood Area.

Col. Raymond Compton, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center military deputy, said today's technology enables students to delve into the scientific world as never before. He said there is as much computing power in a smartphone today as a computer the size of a warehouse when he was a child.

"You are not the scientists of the future. You are the scientists of today," Compton said. "From an iPhone, I can do everything from detecting a bomb to finding out what grade you got at school."

Martin encouraged the students to inquire about the science behind the exhibits as they explored the latest in Army technology.

"The people who do this studied math and science and focused on careers in scientific arenas," Martin said. "Take the opportunities at times like this and talk to the engineers and scientists here.

"Ask questions about what's going on in those technologies. What you see here are the creations. There is a lot of work that goes behind it."