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Corps Engineers STEM message for college bound students

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published July 13, 2017
Greg Forte, an Old Hickory power plant senior mechanic, at the Old Hickory Lock and Dam provides NSTI students with information about the interior operations of the Old Hickory Power Plant on June 21, 2017.  Both were part of a group of 17 students who attended the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week NSTI National Summer Transportation Institute program that introduces students to various aspects of engineering.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has partnered with the Tennessee State University College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science Department to mentor science, technology, engineering and math students during a four-week National Summer Transportation Institute program June 20 through July 2 on the campus of TSU.

Greg Forte, an Old Hickory power plant senior mechanic, at the Old Hickory Lock and Dam provides NSTI students with information about the interior operations of the Old Hickory Power Plant on June 21, 2017. Both were part of a group of 17 students who attended the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week NSTI National Summer Transportation Institute program that introduces students to various aspects of engineering. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has partnered with the Tennessee State University College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science Department to mentor science, technology, engineering and math students during a four-week National Summer Transportation Institute program June 20 through July 2 on the campus of TSU.

Mark Klimaszewski, a Natural Resource Specialist, briefs an operations overview presentation to students attending the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week NSTI National Summer Transportation Institute program that introduces students to various aspects of engineering.  about the district as it relates to natural resource management  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has partnered with the Tennessee State University College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science Department to mentor science, technology, engineering and math students during a four-week National Summer Transportation Institute program June 20 through July 2 on the campus of TSU.

Mark Klimaszewski, a Natural Resource Specialist, briefs an operations overview presentation to students attending the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week NSTI National Summer Transportation Institute program that introduces students to various aspects of engineering. about the district as it relates to natural resource management The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has partnered with the Tennessee State University College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science Department to mentor science, technology, engineering and math students during a four-week National Summer Transportation Institute program June 20 through July 2 on the campus of TSU.

Mark Worley, lockmaster at the Old Hickory Navigation Lock, talks with students touring the lock from the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week National Summer Transportation Institute program on June 21, 2017.

Mark Worley, lockmaster at the Old Hickory Navigation Lock, talks with students touring the lock from the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week National Summer Transportation Institute program on June 21, 2017.

Tennese Henderson, an electrical engineer from the Nashville District Hydropower Branch, talks with a group of students during a tour at the Old Hickory Lock and dam July 21, 2017.  The students were part of a group who attended the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week NSTI National Summer Transportation Institute program that introduces students to various aspects of engineering.

Tennese Henderson, an electrical engineer from the Nashville District Hydropower Branch, talks with a group of students during a tour at the Old Hickory Lock and dam July 21, 2017. The students were part of a group who attended the Tennessee State University Engineering Department's four-week NSTI National Summer Transportation Institute program that introduces students to various aspects of engineering.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 12, 2017) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District has partnered with the Tennessee State University College of Engineering, Technology and Computer Science Department to mentor science, technology, engineering and math students during a four-week National Summer Transportation Institute program June 20 through July 2 on the campus of TSU.

The NSTI program is a residential, academic enrichment program used to improve STEM skills, provide awareness to high school students in grades 10 -12. 

Tennese Henderson, an electrical engineer from the Nashville District Hydropower Branch, led a team of USACE employees that provided hours of seamless instruction and motivation on how transportation works on the Cumberland River Basin.    

For the past 21 years, Corps engineers has helped engage high school students toward careers in STEM by briefing, mentoring and instructing students on a variety of engineering, navigation, transportation careers, educating on current USACE projects and encouraging them to consider a variety of STEM-related courses of study in their higher education pursuits.

Henderson said she is happy with the quality of knowledge each student leaves with each year.  She is grateful to the employees that dedicate their time and energy to help make young people better and especially the Corps.   She said Corps of Engineers is committed to recruiting and helping young people understand the many possibilities of STEM jobs available.

“I’m very happy with the success of young people that have went through this program and the interaction our instructors have with the students,” said Henderson.  “They look forward to meeting new students every year and providing them up-to-date information about the Corps and STEM that will has been proven through previous students that it works when they apply it,” said Henderson. 

Henderson said the program gives mentors and engineering subject matter experts the opportunity to share their knowledge and talk about STEM courses that make great career fields in the Corps and at other jobs.

“Our program hasn’t changed over the years, only with the exception of rotations of weeks, or a tweek or two of a presentation, it’s working,” said Henderson.”

According to NSTI program coordinator, Gale Brinkley, students in the program participate in enrichment and preparatory coursework in computing, mathematics and physics that introduce them to the discipline of engineering from an engineering and transportation perspective.  

“The Corps has a powerful STEM message and it shows when our students interact with them during their technical presentations and tour their facilities, like the Old Hickory Lock and Dam,” said Brinkley.

She said their activities includes hands-on labs, field trips and presentations by Corps employees and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

During the weeks, the group studies and performs a variety of civil engineering methods, experiments, labs.   They also tour various types of transportation facilities located throughout Tennessee.

Binkley said each year the Corps provides the students a day tour to the Old Hickory Lock and Dam in Hendersonville, Tenn.  The students receive briefings and interact with engineers.

On June 21, the students met with the Old Hickory power plant senior mechanic Greg Forte who gave provided a safety briefing, tour and introduction of maintenance tools and gear used at the power plant.

 Forte described the day-to-day power plant operations and the function of four large General Electric generators used for hydropower generation. The group witnessed the operation of the generator, the large rotator assembly and turbine shaft.

 Forte said it was an excellent opportunity for him to show the students the powerhouse, dam and help them learn about the district’s infrastructure, engineering expertise and the economic impact on navigational waters.

“I really like giving tours and is always fun to see the look on their face when they learn something new,” said Forte. “I think our tours offer a simple approach to how science, technology, transportation and engineering work.  I think it helps them understand what engineers do and what classes they will need that relates to real-world engineering.”

Lt. Col. Stephen F. Murphy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District commander, did not teach a class this year because of a prior engagement, but said he’s proud of the way corps employees have mentored, coached, educated and have impacted students over the years.  

“I like what we are doing with these students,” said Murphy.  This program gets better every year and I am sure it will continue to grow.  t is great that we are a part of this program and our employees interaction introduces some of these students to STEM subjects for the very first time,” said Murphy.    

The students received briefings on Corps engineering jobs, a variety of engineering topics, inland waterways, geographic information system and provided a tour of the Old Hickory Lock and Dam.  They also interacted with engineers and subject matter experts during a tour of Old Hickory Lock and Dam in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Selvia Wagih, a high school junior from STEM Prep Academy  School in Nashville, Tenn., was amazed at the size of the dam and was fascinated by the engineering.  She said she plans to attend a college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn and wants to pursue an electrical or civil engineer degree in college.

“I’m glad I attended NSTI this summer and I’m having fun and learning a lot,” said Wagih.  The experience was amazing and it is inspiring to learn so much,  so quickly  about the many things Corps employees do every day to make a lock and dam work,” said Wagih.

JayRah Griffin, a high school junior from Monroe Comprehensive high school in Atlanta, Ga., said she plans to study engineering but is undecided which college to attend but hopes she can possibly work for the Corps.

 “This is great to learn so much about the different types of engineers the Corps has working for them while we get to visit, talk with and ask questions to real working engineers who operate the facilities like the Old Hickory Dam.”

 The Nashville District recognizes the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the country to remain the economic and technological leaders of the global marketplace, and enabling the Department of Defense and Army in providing for the security of our Nation. The district is committed to teaming with others to strengthen STEM-related programs that inspire current and future generations of young people to pursue careers in STEM fields.

  “Our STEM program is working great and we are so proud to help educate young people,  build on their strengths and learn through teaching what it takes to help make them better young people and citizens,” said Henderson.

Henderson said the purpose of the lectures and tours is to allow the students to work with park rangers, biologists, engineers and learn about how the Corps provides engineering on a daily basis.

Mark Klimaszewski, a Natural Resource Specialist, gave an operations overview presentation about the district as it relates to natural resource management and he feels great about the questions at the end of his presentation.

"They had lots of questions about how our many Corps jobs involve STEM subjects and they were really engaged in knowing about our rivers, lakes, projects, and how the Corps maintains so much property,” said Klimaszewski.

Mark Worley, lockmaster at the Old Hickory Navigation Lock, has briefed students for two years and said has the students were very interested in the many functions of the components and had the opportunity to see how the lock works, and ask many questions.

 "I like it when students come through for tours,” said Worley.  “I provides us with the opportunity to tell them about the challenges and paths that it takes to enhance their learning and assist them with choices that will help them make the right career decisions,” said Worley. 

 Other Corps speakers included Maj. Christopher Burkhart, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville Deputy District commander, Mark Rankin, public affairs specialist, John Tribble, an electrical engineer; Bobby Jackson, natural resource specialist and Courtney Eason, a realty specialist in the Real Estate.

“These young men and women come from all over the country seeking information that will help them decide what path of education they will pursue, and it is gratifying to help mentor and shape students into future engineers and scientists,” said Henderson. “They are the future engineers who will build, maintain and manage our nation’s roads, infrastructure and waterways someday.”

This year students from Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, and Illinois attended.

The Nashville District has offices located throughout the Cumberland River Basin that are staffed with engineers, scientists, and other professionals interested in helping educators inspire kids to pursue careers in scientific and engineering fields.

 

The Nashville District recognizes the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the country to remain the economic and technological leaders of the global marketplace, and enabling the Department of Defense and Army in providing for the security of our Nation.  The district is committed to teaming with others to strengthen STEM-related programs that inspire current and future generations of young people to pursue careers in STEM fields.

 

For more news and information visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)