NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 14, 2019) – A group of technical experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District interacted with teachers during the Metro Nashville Public School district’s annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics In-Service Symposium today at Stratford STEM Magnet School.
More than 600 teachers from Metro Nashville Public STEAM program attended the “STEAM” symposium and grouped into 40 breakout sessions for educators to learn new skills and strategies.
Stephanie Coleman, Nashville District Equal Employment Opportunity chief, manned a Corps of Engineers exhibit table and provided up-to-date information about engineering, water management, dam safety, regulatory protection of natural resources with teachers. At the entrance of the school, the Nashville District Emergency Management team provided tours inside the state-of-the-art Emergency Command and Control Vehicle, commonly referred to as an “ECCV.”
“When we attend events, our impact is great,” said Coleman. “For as long as I can remember, our park rangers have been directly involved with local school groups via interpretive programs dealing pretty much with water safety. We have been expanding that outreach for several years now through more STEM-focused initiatives, availing ourselves to demonstrate what the Corps of Engineers has to offer in terms of future careerists by participating in career fairs, junior achievement programs, student project evaluations, guest speakers.”
According to Dr. Jennifer Berry, STEAM director of the Metro Nashville Public STEAM Program, the event allows teachers to interact with industry leaders. Teachers are able to develop curriculum that challenges students to think critically, be creative and communicate and collaborate with their peers.
“We are happy to partner with the Corps of Engineers and have the ECCV here so our teachers can tour and see STEAM technology at work,” said Berry. “This technology empowers our teachers to better understand how to describe how their specific skills fit into our complex world.”
Kevin Gatlin, Nashville District Emergency Management specialist, met with teachers and explained the operations and the role of the vehicle and various jobs Corps employees carry out during emergencies and natural disasters.
“This is great to have the opportunity to interact directly with teachers who will teach new concepts and lessons that involve designing and building for college and allows them to understand what the students are thinking when building for college,” said Gatlin, “This is a perfect place for us to showcase the many STEAM fields and jobs that young people can do if they want to potentially work for the Corps of Engineers.”
Coleman said the response to the ECCV on any school site has been absolutely phenomenal. She said people were amazed at the technology and were enthusiastically engaged in learning about this vehicle provides communication capabilities to emergency responders, and how it provides support during disasters all over the country.
“For many, they never knew this (emergency management asset) was one of the things the Corps of Engineers did,” Coleman said. “The ECCV has been on site at Stratford STEM Magnet School a number of times, to include the school's annual Science and Engineering Day and what they've counted as on-site job shadow opportunities for some of its academy students.”
Tammy Hawkins, ninth grade teacher at Antioch High School, toured the ECCV with three other teachers from Metro Schools and found the information to be helpful and noted her surprise to see the vehicles capabilities and technology.
“Having the opportunity to see this vehicle and hear how it works and intermingles with STEAM technology reinforces my ideas for training and teaching the subjects in the classroom,” said Hawkins.
Coleman said through the partnership with the schools, teachers and students are more knowledgeable about the Corps of Engineers and its missions. The visibility continues to become widespread with each new contact a Corps employee makes, she said.
“STEAM projects are very important to the Corps,” said Gatlin. “Not only is it important for us to be involved in our local schools, colleges and community but for districts all over the country to hire these young smart people in the future to rebuild infrastructure, roads and bridges,” he said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District promotes events like this that encourage learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
The Nashville District supports STEAM programs and is an official partner of the Stratford STEM Magnet High School.
(For news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District go to 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.)