LOS ANGELES – Maj. Scotty Autin, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District along with Capt. Eugene Park, assistant chief of civil works branch, participated in the West Point Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity STEM (LEADS) workshop for LA Metro Area educators and students on Sept. 9. The workshop, hosted by the West Point Society of LA, emphasized the importance of ethical leadership to local students and educators from Stephen M. White Middle School, 186th Street Elementary School, and Carson High School.
Maj. Autin met with educators to discuss STEM and ethical behavior within the Corps’ culture.
“The Corps is seen as a trustworthy agency,” explained Autin. “It applies to STEM because we rely on the scientific method and scientific model. You present the best facts and the best understanding you can and people feel empowered to make an ethical decision because they have to support the organization, they have to support the facts.”
The event also highlighted the significance of having high science, technology, engineering and math competence in our country to maintain a competitive edge with other countries. Cadets and mentors worked with students on rocket building and bridge designs.
“I really enjoyed mentoring the students,” said Park. “They were engaged and had so much fun. The best part was watching their faces light up when their little truck made it over the structure.”
Park, a West Point graduate, led the bridge design workshop using computer generated simulation. Middle school students were challenged to build a working bridge using the most cost effective means available. The program students used to design the bridge is the same used by West Point academy cadets.
“Students have to start now, while they are young, especially if they have an interest in attending the United States Military Academy.”
Christopher Downing, superintendent of Local District South attended the event with 230 students from his district.
“The West Point Society, SpaceX, California Resource Corporation and Army Corps of Engineers help support STEM,” said Downing. “They instruct and expose students to science and technology guaranteeing them a bright future and access to 21st century careers.”
West Point Society of LA hosts events annually in support of STEM and encourages other STEM-based corporations to get involved with their community.
“It’s an honor and a privilege for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers LA District to help mentor local students,” said Autin. “We hope they get excited about technology and science.”