Many high school students are facing the question, “What do
I do after graduation, and what do I want to do for a living?”
Two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District
engineers, with vastly different education and work backgrounds, teamed up to answer
this question and deliver valuable industry exposure to Niagara Falls High School
science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) soon-to-be graduates,
Project Manager Captain Kelly Polashenski’s military
perspective and Project Manager Geoffrey Hintz’s industry perspective emphasized
the importance of working hard in school, persevering, and following a plan of
Even if the plan is the wrong one, you can always learn,
adapt, and formulate a new plan.
“Don’t rue what you’ve already done. Look forward to what
you can do,” was Hintz’s message to the group.
CPT Polashenski outlined her experiences in Iraq that
involved building schools, office buildings, and roadways. She also described
her humanitarian mission to the Marshall Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean.
Her presentation gave the students a glimpse into the unique and deeply
rewarding work of a military engineer.
“Discussing STEM with school children is inspiring. They are
our future and they have so much opportunity before them,” said CPT
Hintz appealed to the students from both an industry
engineer perspective and from the perspective of a father putting his students
through college. Hintz was able to deliver some helpful insights gleaned from
having first-hand experience with guiding children through the
Following the presentation, Hintz and Polashenski
discussed with teachers the importance of turning STEM student’s attention
toward real-world and hand’s-on applications of this challenging yet rewarding
"Educators need help, they need the tools that will
enlighten kids to what is available outside an academic environment. There is
nothing more important that private industry and governmental agencies can be
doing than to provide students with first hand insights to the diversity of
career opportunities in STEM,” said Hintz.
The Corps of Engineers is committed to investing in
America’s youth, and recognizes that STEM occupations are critical to the Nation’s
continued economic competitiveness. Outreach volunteer efforts such as these
ensure that students head off to college with a greater understanding and
appreciation of what it takes to be a STEM practitioner.