The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dedicated to exposing students to a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field. STEM subjects are critical to the development of young children and are critical in the Corps’ day-to-day activities. In order to grow the future workforce of the Corps, the Charleston District participates in numerous STEM outreach events each
Ten years ago, the only STEM activity the District participated in was National Engineers Week. During this week, the District would usually invite a couple of school groups to come to the office and hear slideshow presentations from our engineers about what they did. While this was educational, it was not hands on, and then sat on the shelf until the next year.
Over the last 10 years, the District has vastly improved the number of STEM activities conducted per year, as well as the quality of the events. The District still regularly speaks to school groups, but there is now an interactive element. Students in recent
years have learned how to build towers from cardboard rolls, how water filters through various natural elements by pouring it through fictional ecosystems, or even how to properly conduct a job interview. Interactive opportunities abound when students come to the office for temporary job shadowing and internships as well, where they are immersed in the day-today
activities of their mentor.
Local students have also been able to take field trips to various project sites in order to see STEM careers in action. These have included trips to Folly Beach to see beach renourishment activities, to the St. Stephen Powerhouse to see the fish lift, and to the new elementary school being built at Fort Jackson.
The District also participates in annual Charleston events, such as SEWE and STEMFest, where thousands of kids learn about wetlands. And, while not directly STEM-related, the District has also been actively seeking opportunities to promote water safety in the community through the use of Bobber the Water Safety Dog, who visits schools and attends events to remind kids to always wear their life jackets.
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. Today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers.