To support education in technical fields, representatives from ARDEC STEM Education Outreach and ARDEC Diversity Council supported Liberty Science Center Community Evenings on May 23 and May 30.

On those evenings, students from the Abbott School Districts in New Jersey had free access to the Liberty Science Center from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. On May 23, approximately 3,000 students were present at the center. On May 30, about 1,500 students attended.

The Abbott Districts are recognized as the "poorest urban districts" in the state of New Jersey.
STEM is an acronym typically associated with the promotion of education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) is the largest organization at Picatinny Arsenal.

The National Society of Black Engineers Junior Chapter, and STEM Corp members displayed many of their winning Mission Folders from the eCYBERMISSION national science competition.

eCYBERMISSION is a national, internet-based science competition sponsored by the Department of the Army for students in the grades 6-9.

Teams made up of three or four students in the same grade and state are challenged to explore their community to identify a problem or opportunity in need of a solution.

Students can use science, technology, engineering and math to implement a solution. Each member of a winning team can earns $500-$8,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds.

The display of winning Mission Folders at the Liberty Science Center was intended to use peer role models to excite, encourage and engage students from the Abbott Districts to get involved with STEM activities.

By viewing winning entries from students like themselves, young people from the Abbott Districts might become more interested in STEM courses, the eCYBERMISSION competition and, later, perhaps STEM-related careers.

The winning Mission Folders were selected from eight years of submissions. The missions covered a wide array of topics. For example:

• Using the Wii video device for recreational therapy in nursing homes
• Ceramic water filters made from sawdust and clay to provide potable water in developing countries
• Solar energy to refrigerate vaccines for developing countries
• A business venture selling the African chewing stick
• Bitter cassava extract to aid in halting the honey bee colony collapse
• Soursop leaves to fight cancer
• Bitter melon to aid in controlling Type 2 diabetes

The coordinator of Liberty Science Center Community Evenings has extended an invitation to ARDEC and eCYBERMISSION for next year's events. The Picatinny Arsenal point of contact for this event is Suzette Burnett at 973-724-2132.