NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April
7, 2016) – A group of technical experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District
judged a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Science Expo today and
staffed an exhibit sponsored by the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub on the Tennessee
State University campus at the Gentry Center.
Ben Rohrbach, Nashville
District Hydraulics and Hydrology chief; Mark Abernathy, Visual Information specialist with the Corps’ Army
Corps of Engineers Information Technology Operations; Courtney Eason, realty
specialist in the Real Estate Office, Amy Robinson and Lisa Morris, Regulatory
Division environmental engineers, served as judges at the event.
Carol Haynes, chief of
Equal Employment Office, along with David Claussen and Stephanie Coleman, Equal
Employment Office specialists, and Old Hickory Lake Park Ranger Brent Sewell
staffed the exhibit and talked with students about Corps STEM subjects.
The Nashville District team at the
exhibit shared their knowledge about engineering, water management, dam safety,
regulatory protection of natural resources, and the role of park rangers who
are stewards of the land and water, and who look out for the safety of visitors
at Corps projects.
The STEM Expo showcased
original constructed projects designed and built by middle and high school
students from the STEM Hub partnering school districts.
“We are so glad to have
so many schools participate and especially have the Corps a part of this
program,” said Dr. Vicki Metzgar, Middle Tennessee STEM
Innovation Hub director. “The program
allows us to assemble and honor student’s projects and showcase their excellent
knowledge about STEM subjects.”
More than 300 students
attended the expo with teams producing and managing 138 projects from counties
in middle Tennessee, including Metro Nashville public schools, Sumner County,
Clarksville-Montgomery County school system, and private schools such as
Harpeth Hall. The Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub organized the program,
which is designed to encourage students to enroll or challenge themselves in
STEM fields that involves designing, building, processing and analyzing STEM
questions and problems.
The Tennessee State
University college of Engineering
served as sponsor for the event and S. Keith Hargrove, dean, College of
Engineering Professor, Mechanical & Manufacturing
engineering Department Director, Tiger Institute thanked
teachers, and parent’s for their
participation. He also lauded students
for their inspiration, motivation and display of STEM projects.
“We are excited about
playing a role in middle Tennessee and we want to continue encouraging more students to participate in STEM
activities and strongly consider STEM careers,” said Hargrove.
Metzgar said the STEM
Hub provides a valuable exchange and a network of ideas and resources for
schools, colleges and universities, and network partners to serve the STEM
needs of the middle region of Tennessee.
“This is the biggest and
best expo we have had to date and we are so thankful that the Engineering Department from Tennessee State University
to serve as host for this year’s program on their campus and all our sponsors,”
Rutherford County schools
represented well. At an awards ceremony near
the end of the Expo, Rohrbach recognized the district winner from Central
Magnet High school in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Peyton Ball, Michael Chan and Lisa
McDougal were presented a glass trophy and certificate for their STEM project.
“STEM projects are very
important to the Corps,” said Rohrbach. “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.”
The group’s project was
a kitchen aid application that measures water.
The STEM Expo showcased original projects designed and built by Middle
and High school students from the STEM Hub partnering school districts.
“We are happy to be at
this year’s expo and we are thankful for the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers recognizing our project,” said Ball.
Colin Miller, student at
Indian Lake Middle School in Hendersonville, developed a project with his team
about how various types of light that affect plant growth. The students collected data, scientific
research and explained the depth of measurement. Eason was interested in the process and
methods required to sustain the light and plant growth and asked him about its
applications and data.
“These kids have built
some great projects and are very smart,” said Abernathy.
According to Metzgar,
the STEM program helps students learn key academic content, practice skills
through hands on learning and understand technology which is necessary for
success such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.
“These kids have got all
kinds of creativity, excitement and energy and that’s what we need for our next
generation of STEM professionals,” said Metzgar.
She said students in
grades 5-12 in schools of STEM Hub Partners participated in the 2016 STEM EXPO
at TSU. There were five categories of
projects - STEM Research, Engineering I, Engineering II, Agricultural STEM, and
Technology. The sponsoring school/district determines their category.
Schools from STEM Hub partner
districts were eligible to register one entry per
category (maximum of five entries per school). Districts could enter a maximum
of 50 projects.
“I was happy to evaluate
the projects,” said Abernathy. “I was
impressed by the level of technology and information as each group understood
and explained their projects.”
“This has been a great
event for our kids and we are thankful for the sponsors like TSU, the STEM hub, the Corps of Engineers
and other businesses who make themselves available to explain engineering for
the kids and helps them start thinking about a career field in science,
technology, engineering and math at an earlier age,” said Stephanie Miller, the
mother of Colin Miller and project transporter. “I think this program gives them an
advantage because the group was exposed to different aspects of the project
which allowed them to put their science knowledge to good use.”
The Nashville District supports STEM
programs and is an official partner of the Stratford STEM
Magnet High School. For more information, go to the district’s STEM Support
Page. For more news and information, follow the district on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps.