The Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense Education Activity recently announced a new partnership with Ashurst Elementary School on Marine Corps Base Quantico to advance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in schools. Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Marilee Fitzgerland, director, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) visited with students this past week to sign the agreement.
The purpose of the partnership is to advance STEM education at DoDEA elementary and secondary schools around the world. The partnership’s focus aligns with the White House’s and Department of Education’s focus on educating global leaders and preparing students for STEM careers in the global economy.
Gen. Bostick paid tribute to teachers and stressed the importance of education, especially in the STEM fields. He said the Army Corps of Engineers is ready to be an active partner in the undertaking.
He noted that the U.S. is falling behind in STEM career fields and said young students who chose to focus on STEM education with a goal of entering related career fields as adults, would help in keeping America competitive.
“Only 14 countries in the world produce a smaller percentage of engineers than the United States, including countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia and Cuba,” said Gen. Bostick. “Out of 100 U.S. college graduates, four are engineers. In Russia, that number is 10. In China, it’s 31.”
Marilee Fitzgerald expressed the enthusiasm and commitment of DoDEA’s teachers and staff for the program.
“DoDEA is truly honored and grateful for the opportunity to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to focus on preparing the next generation to develop the skills, capacity, flexibility and perseverance they will need to ensure our nation continues to be a world leader in the STEM fields,” she said.
She added, “This collaborative effort will form a team that will make an impact on the lives of our students, excite them about STEM’s potential and inspire them to pursue a STEM-related career.”
The program will include the development of a specific civil works project or other USACE function that directly relates to DoDEA’s STEM content and curriculum. USACE interns and DoDEA students will collaborate on projects and their efforts will culminate in a competition and awards ceremony held two times each school year.
According to the Department of Education, careers in all STEM-related fields will increase 14 percent between now and 2020, with even more job growth expected in STEM-related areas such as mathematics, computer science, and the biomedical fields.
Read on here.