Nashville, Tenn. (March 31, 2014) - U.S. Army representatives networked with many college students at the 40th annual National Society of Black Engineers Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., March 26 - March 30, 2014.
The National Society of Black Engineers is one of the leading organizations governed by students in the United States. Nearly 300,000 members strong, it is a non-profit organization founded in 1975.
“We have representatives from the Corps of Engineers, West Point Military Academy, ROTC, and Army recruiters talking about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics career opportunities within the Army,” said Lt. Col. Kenric Smith, professor of military science and ROTC instructor at Vanderbilt University.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Chief of Equal Employment Opportunity, Carol Haynes was bombarded with engineering and STEM questions about engineering jobs, and mapping paths for future jobs with the Corps.
“The Corps is based around engineering and still remains focused on promoting educational and career opportunities for people within the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” said Haynes.
Haynes has been involved with the STEM program in the Nashville District for 15 years and has worked with elementary, high school and college students in programs specifically tailored on engineering opportunities developed from STEM educators.
“These young people are future Corps employees and leaders in our communities,” said Haynes. “We must continue to recognize their potential, provide information on STEM and show them the path to employment because we need their expertise in the Corps,” she added.
The Army’s participation at the NSBE convention reflected its substantial commitment to supporting STEM education through college to find the best leaders, soldiers and engineers for the Army.
Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander, is an advocate of supporting STEM recruiting for college, STEM initiatives and frequently encourages the entire organization to be involved with STEM supported activities such as high school competitions, conferences, and in communities across the nation.
TEAM U.S. Army displayed a broad presence at the convention by exhibiting a large booth that provided visitors with a “total immersion” experience. Conventioneers had the opportunity to sample life as a Soldier in an ImmersaDome, which allowed them to virtually become a paratrooper or a paramedic.
West Point, Vanderbilt and MTSU Reserve Officers Training Corps representatives shared information on Army College opportunities. The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is a college-based program for training commissioned officers of the United States Armed Forces.
“Many of my high school and college courses were based from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” said Mina Jamie-Gist an engineering student from the University of Michigan.
“I’ve had hopes of participating in the Army ROTC on my path to an engineering career so coming to the conference and stopping by the booth affords me the opportunity to ask questions,” said Jamie-Gist.
According to Smith, the Army specifically looks for STEM students like Jamie-Gist with an interest in engineering and continues to offer scholarships and incentives for the best and brightest students.
“Helping a young person make the decision to be a part of our organization through engineering is great. It not only benefits the Army, but society in general,” said Smith. “We make leaders,” he said.