By Bob Reinert, USAG-Natick Public AffairsApril 26, 2012
NATICK, Mass. (April 26, 2012) -- Potential scientists, mathematicians and engineers of the future roamed the Natick Soldier Systems Center campus, April 20, during the 15th annual Bring Your Daughters & Sons to Work Day.
The 145 boys and girls learned what their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends do at work every day, and how important that work really is.
"I want you to know that whoever brought you here, you should say how proud you are of them, because I'm very proud that they work here," Dianne St. Jean, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center associate director told the children. "Everybody here helps the Soldiers and Marines and Navy and Special Forces and Air Force, right?"
St. Jean told the children why that work meant so much to her.
"My brother was in the Army for 25 years," St. Jean said. "My brother went to Iraq, and my brother went to Afghanistan, and my brother went to Honduras, and my brother came back home every, single time.
"So it was really great to know that all of the people who brought you here are doing a little something that helped my brother be successful when he went into dangerous places, and that he came home."
St. Jean asked the children to do a little favor for her.
"If you're at the airport or at a ballgame or out in the street, and you see a Soldier wearing a uniform if you say 'Thank you for your service,' I can tell you it will mean a lot to them," St. Jean said. "It will mean a lot to the people around them, their families. It will mean a lot to everybody who works here."
As she pointed out, St. Jean came to work at Natick 23 years ago, when not many women were engineers.
"I went to school to be an engineer at a university," St. Jean said. "Guess how many girls there were that were engineers. There were only four of us -- four girls who were engineers out of 198 (students)."
After St. Jean's welcoming remarks, the children fanned out across the 78-acre campus to learn more about NSSC in 15 different demonstrations. They also took part in a tree-planting to observe Earth Day, enjoyed an animal show, and participated in a "radKIDS" class, which teaches children to resist aggression defensively.
"The event was such a success because of the hard work of all of the civilian and Soldier volunteers," said event co-chairperson Amy Klopotoski of the host Women in Science and Engineering Team at NSSC.
Josh Bulotsky, who manages the Doriot Climatic Chambers at NSSC, brought his four children with him.
"I had my 13-year-old boy, 11-year-old boy, 9-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy come to work with me that day," Bulotsky said. "The kids really enjoyed seeing all of the different types of research that are done at the installation."
Just before they began their adventure, St. Jean had reminded the children to pay attention as they visited various facilities.
"Anything you see, anything you do, just know that there's science, engineering and math behind it," St. Jean said. "Maybe someday you'll be here doing some of this really cool stuff for all of those (Soldiers)."