ECBC electronics technician Mark Hull, left, assists pre-engineering… (Photos Courtesy of Jennifer…)
Employees from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) recently afforded 24 high school students in Joppatowne High School's pre-engineering program the opportunity to experience real-world research and development processes conducted at ECBC.
The group of juniors and seniors traversed a wide range of engineering career fields, and they were able to interact with subject matter experts that specialize in areas such as rapid prototyping, 3D laser scanning, and robotics detection.
While giving students an overview of the Center and its Advanced Design and Manufacturing capabilities, ADM Division Chief Mark Schlein emphasized the value of an interdisciplinary team approach in delivering cutting-edge solutions that protect the warfighter and our nation.
ECBC is focused on creating a local workforce pipeline that is skilled to solve current and future challenges through science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, solutions. The center's work with the students is part of a program is sponsored by the National Defense Education Program.
In addition to visiting ECBC's manufacturing shop, the students received a "sneak peek" of the Army's STEM Asset Vehicle, a hands-on mobile showcase that the center's ADM Division helped design and develop to attract and engage aspiring young scientists and engineers.
"Our students are usually not exposed to real-world engineering techniques such as 3D laser scanning and rapid prototyping," said Joppatowne High School Technology Education Teacher John Bachman. "This is an excellent opportunity for my students to learn about an array of STEM career pathways right in their backyard."
Students explored ECBC's Environmental and Field Testing facilities, where electronics technician Mark Hull explained and demonstrated the techniques his team applies to simulate the transportation and storage of mechanical components under various environmental conditions.
Looking to reinforce the engineering process through a real-world challenge, ECBC packaging specialists David Vincitore, Deborah Brooks-Harris and Karyn Rafferty coached the students through the design, build and test phases of a package. The students' overall goal was to develop a package that prevented a raw egg from being damaged during a five-foot drop test and an incline shock test.
All students received a "whole egg" or "cracked egg" certificate of appreciation based on the resistance of their individual packages. Students whose eggs remained undamaged after the test phase were evaluated for the weight, volume and creativity of their packaging design. Those who built the lightest, smallest and most creative package received special recognition.
While stimulating students to think outside of the box, this activity also required them to apply technical skills, such as measuring, weighing and basic mathematics.
Eleventh-grade student James Byrd said that the entire experience would help him shape his future career pathway.
"I will definitely try to come back to work here," James said. "This was a great learning experience."
ECBC is a U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command laboratory located at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground
ECBC is the Army's principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology, engineering and field operations. ECBC has achieved major technological advances for the warfighter and for our national defense, with a long and distinguished history of providing the armed forces with quality systems and outstanding customer service.
For more information about the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, http://www.ecbc.army.mil or call 410-436-7118.