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USACE participates in National Engineers Week

Published March 3, 2017
Joshua Ramirez, a student at the STEM Academy of Hollywood, had presented his project to Maj. Scotty Autin during Senior Defense on Feb. 23. “I had to find artifacts from all four years of my attendance and based on four major principles show what we learned.”

Joshua Ramirez, a student at the STEM Academy of Hollywood, had presented his project to Maj. Scotty Autin during Senior Defense on Feb. 23. “I had to find artifacts from all four years of my attendance and based on four major principles show what we learned.”

At Pasadena's John Muir High School, about 250 students, from freshmen to seniors, took part in STEM activities Feb. 23 to help them discover the opportunities for a future in the engineering profession. A variety of public agencies and private companies assisted in the program that helps students develop resumes, study reverse engineering, conduct mock interviews and defend science projects from concept to reality.

At Pasadena's John Muir High School, about 250 students, from freshmen to seniors, took part in STEM activities Feb. 23 to help them discover the opportunities for a future in the engineering profession. A variety of public agencies and private companies assisted in the program that helps students develop resumes, study reverse engineering, conduct mock interviews and defend science projects from concept to reality.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District participate in STEM activities Feb. 23 at John Muir High School in Pasadena. Students interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learned about the work the Corps accomplishes and the recommended educational paths to pursue that goal.

Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District participate in STEM activities Feb. 23 at John Muir High School in Pasadena. Students interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learned about the work the Corps accomplishes and the recommended educational paths to pursue that goal.

Maj. Scotty Autin, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, met Feb. 23 with local educators at the STEM Academy of Hollywood to discuss the results from their judging of students’ presentations.

Maj. Scotty Autin, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, met Feb. 23 with local educators at the STEM Academy of Hollywood to discuss the results from their judging of students’ presentations.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District participated in several National Engineers Week activities, held Feb. 19 through 25, aimed at helping high school students become more aware of the opportunities available in the engineering profession and the educational knowledge and skills it takes to be successful there.

Volunteers took part in four activities at three area high schools: STEM Academy of Hollywood, John Muir High School in Pasadena and Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights.

Anne Hutton, the District’s Emergency Manager, began the activities as a judge for the Curiosity Science Fair held Feb. 21 at the STEM Academy of Hollywood, located on the campus of Helen Bernstein High School.

STEM Academy of Hollywood is an innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine pilot high school located in the heart of Hollywood and features a rigorous interdisciplinary and project-based curriculum providing multiple student internships and community-based learning opportunities.

The following morning, Steve Dwyer, Capt. Eugene Park and Mel Lagunzad participated in the Career Exploration Showcase at John Muir High School, where they talked with many of the more than 200 students who participated about career opportunities available to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math scholars.

“This is the first STEM event I’ve been to, but I’ve done a lot of recruiting on college campuses,” said Dwyer, the District’s chief of Navigation and Coastal Planning Branch. “A benefit of working with high school students would be a long term advantage, if we can convince some of these students to concentrate more on science and math.”

Judy Turner, STEM coordinator for John Muir, echoed that sentiment. The STEM program, she said, introduces students to increasingly more difficult responsibilities. Starting as freshmen, the program helps with resume development, includes reverse engineering for sophomores and conducting mock interviews for juniors. Senior STEM students participate in a project review, taking an idea from the conceptual stage through research to reality.

Lagunzad, a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and current Department of the Army intern, has been with the District about six months and has cycled through four different divisions during his training.

“It’s nice to see young minds reach out and have a curiosity for engineering,” he said. “This program allows them to get an idea of things they can do later on in the field of science. I wasn’t expecting a lot of ninth graders to be here, coming in telling me exactly what they want to do.”

Later that day, Maj. Pete Stambersky, the District's deputy for Contracting Division, gave a presentation on the Corps of Engineers to about two dozen students at Los Altos High School. Stambersky spoke about the various missions of the Corps and the people who perform them, and encouraged the students to continue their studies in STEM to help prepare them for a potential future in engineering.

To round out its Engineers Week activities, the District participated in a second event at the STEM Academy of Hollywood on Feb. 23, where two district team members judged students’ presentations in the academy’s inaugural Senior Defense.

Paul Hirsch, principal of the Stem Academy of Hollywood, explained the concept behind the Linked Learning school.

“The idea behind a Linked Learning school is you link the academic core to career pathways,” he said. “We offer two pathways, one in medicine and one in engineering.”

Maj. Scotty Autin, deputy commander of the Corps’ Los Angeles District, and Hutton, judged the students’ projects based on metrics provided by the academy.

The project defense allowed students to demonstrate the expanse of their engineering knowledge.

“I am a senior and enjoyed defending how I learned certain engineering principles I was taught while attending this school over the past four years,” said Joshua Ramirez, a student at the academy who had presented his project to Autin. “I had to find artifacts from all four years of my attendance and based on four major principles, show what we learned.”

“I thought this event was interesting as it showed that the students had to use basically an engineering thought process in their presentations,” said Autin. “They showed how the projects contributed to their learning. It was a chance to show through their evidence, which they call artifacts, that they had learned the objectives of the school.”

Hirsch said the school goes beyond the core by connecting the academic career technical courses to real world learning experiences.

“We bring professionals here like the Corps to serves as judges to evaluate how the kids are doing, and we also send the kids out to do volunteer work or paid internships,” he said.