Army, community college team up for innovative career recruiting

Updated Dec 7, 2012
Students take part in a solar energy display.Students take part in a solar energy display.

Recruiting isn’t easy these days, so it’s always nice to see an event that takes hold and becomes successful, such as the STEM event held this week in Michigan.

A joint project between the United States Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and Macomb Community College, the sixth annual Robotics, Engineering and Technology Days finishes up today and was expected to attract more than 1,500 middle and high school students interested in career paths in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The hands-on program includes a range of challenging, but fun, activities such as robotic programming using materials from the Lego Group. During the event, students will learn basic robotic programming and teach robots to navigate and take part in a sumo competition.

Another event from the Square One Education Network gives students a first-hand look at an underwater remotely operated vehicle demonstration, which takes place in a large pool.

The Army’s Clandestine Extended Range Vehicle, designed for reconnaissance, surveillance and target designation, will be on hand to give students an idea of the latest in hybrid-electric vehicle technology and military stealth.

Ground robotics displayGround robotics display

Additionally, the students will be able to operate some of the robots used in the field by both soldiers and first responders. Finally, students will learn about electric vehicles and batteries, and learn about renewable energy technologies such as biofuel, wind, solar and hydrogen fuel cells.

In addition to creating interest in promising careers, U.S. Army representatives see the event as a way of strengthening the nation’s STEM skill set.

“Many students don’t know fact from fiction about being a scientist or engineer,” says TARDEC Communications and Outreach Director Derhun Sanders. “To them, science and math are not seen as doorways to possible careers, but as difficult subjects that bring hours of homework.”