NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 29, 2015) – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives networked with thousands of college engineering students at the Society of Women Engineers at the Music City Center Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 22-24, 2015. This year’s theme was “Reach out to reach up.”
Personnel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters, Nashville and Memphis Districts, and Engineering Research & Design Center in Vicksburg, Miss., sat on a lecture panel, attended business workshops, forums and manned an engineering booth during the conference.
“It is so important for the Corps to be here because this opportunity allowed us to have face-to-face interacting with the nation’s best and brightest college students,” said Lacy Thomason, planning project manager, Planning, Formulation Section, Nashville District. “Some of these attendees came here specifically looking for engineering jobs and this is an excellent opportunity to recruit them to be a part of our Corps team.”
The Society of Women Engineers is one of the leading organizations for diverse women engineers in the United States and hosts the world’s largest career fair for women in science, technology, engineering, and math. This year’s exhibit hall represented 300 of the world’s leading corporations, government agencies and universities who have an impact around the globe.
Richelle C. Thomas, Ph.D., an advanced engineer in R&D from the Owens Corning Corporation said SWE is organized at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Each region holds an annual regional conference and there is an annual conference for the Society as a whole. Local sections host programs and events related to SWE's mission for their members and the local community.
Thomas invited Lannae Long, an environmental engineer from the Nashville District to speak to students Saturday afternoon on a “Working with the Federal Government” panel.
Long said the Corps is a diverse organization and one of her purposes for attending the conference was to help spread the word and encourage women to apply.
“Speaking to these young women at SWE was really exciting and it is so important for us to help them understand the variety of engineering and environmental jobs that are available to them in the Corps.”
Long said it is great to see students from various backgrounds interested in working with the Corps and asking about opportunities available for environmentalist and engineer Jobs.
Andrea Williams, a civil engineer with the Memphis District who works at the Ensley Engineer yard, Marine Maintenance Facility, was bombarded by excited students at the USACE booth with questions about engineering and STEM jobs and questions about mapping paths for future jobs with the Corps.
“We had great representatives from the Corps and it reminds me that our great organization 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 Williams.
Thomason and Meagan Kentner, a civil engineer, in the Management Support Branch, Operations Division with the Nashville District, has been involved with the various programs in the Nashville District she attends conferences where she talks with high school and college students in programs specifically tailored to engineering opportunities.
“These students are future Corps employees,” said Kentner. “They have a digital edge and tools that will contribute to the success of our organization and even communities,” said Kentner. “We must continue to recognize their potential, provide information on engineering jobs, and present the path to employment because we need their expertise in the Corps,” she added.
The Corps participation at the SWE convention reflected its substantial commitment to supporting STEM education through college to find the best leaders and engineers for USACE.
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.
“I am interested in mechanical engineering and working for an organization like the Corps,” said Katie Lang, an engineering student from Manhattan College in Breezy Point, N.Y.
Lang said many of her high school and college courses were based from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“I’ve had hopes of speaking with someone from the Corps and got that opportunity today,” said Lang. “Coming to the conference and stopping by the booth affords me the opportunity to ask questions and meet real employees,” said Lang.
According to Williams, the Corps looks for STEM students who have an interest in engineering and continues to offer scholarships and incentives for the best and brightest students.
The USACE team booth attracted a constant stream of college students interested in learning more about the district engineering jobs and career opportunities.
“Most attendees that stopped know about Corps jobs, but we have a variety of civilian information for those not familiar with what the Corps has to offer,” said Kimberly Gauntt, director, from ERDC. “I am really happy we attended because of the opportunity to interact with some smart students, and network and the meet contacts,” said Gauntt. She said helping a young person make the decision to be a part of the Corps through engineering is satisfying.”
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