According to a recent report by a coalition of groups under the umbrella called “Tapping America’s Potential,” the United States is not meeting the goals of major business groups to ramp-up the number of college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics or “STEM.”
Why is this important? According to Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue, “Without workers equipped with the science, technology, engineering and math skills to succeed in the 21st century, the United States will lose the global race for talent and its position as the economic leader of the world.”
Accenture Ltd. Chairman and CEO William D. Green emphasized this predicament by focusing on the quality of the workforce in great companies. “America’s ability to innovate begins with the talent, knowledge and creative thinking of its workforce, and businesses and government must continue to work together to strengthen science and technology education,” Green said.
The Corps’ Position
The Corps of Engineers leadership at all levels recognizes the critical role that STEM plays in enabling the United States to remain an economic and technological leader in the global marketplace and also in supporting the Army and Department of Defense in maintaining the security of our Nation. “We are 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,” said Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
In what might be described as a “perfect storm,” Buffalo District combined Engineer Week, STEM and Shadow Day to host aspiring scientists and engineers from Niagara Falls High School and Hutchinson Technical High School in Buffalo, New York.
District Commander Lt. Col. Owen J. Beaudoin, Deputy District Commander Maj. Michael A. Busby, Deputy for Planning, Programs and Project Management Lisa J. Fiedler and EEO Officer Judy Phillips joined the students for a hands-on presentation on biology and the Corps’ Regulatory program given by Audrey Richter and David Leput.
Just a short walk across the Buffalo District reservation, Matt Massett , Peter Lorey and Marc Graham demonstrated low-flow groundwater sampling, while Phil Newman provided a hands-on exhibition of the latest cadastral and hydrographic survey techniques and equipment.
Last, but not least, Colleen O’Connell spoke to the students about the Corps and coastal engineering.
“I love reaching out to young students and telling them about the great work we do at the Corps to protect and sustain the environment,” said Richter.
The faces of the students tell the STEM story better than any article.