From the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center:
The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) and Harford Community College signed an education partnership agreement to formalize and expand the scope of their collaboration in encouraging and enhancing the study in STEM disciplines as well as the pursuit of STEM career fields.
Leadership from both the Center and the College met for the signing ceremony at the Edgewood Area of APG on Sept. 24. Over the course of the past several years, the Center’s Community and Educational Outreach Program has worked with Harford Community College on an array of K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education initiatives.
“This education partnership formalizes a long collaboration between the College and ECBC,” President of Harford Community College Dennis Golladay, Ph.D. said. “The agreement will lead to further opportunities in pursuing our joint mission to expand knowledge and interest in STEM disciplines.”
ECBC has supported the College’s Project Dream Work program and Technology Teens initiative with hands-on experiences that reinforce the real-world application of STEM concepts for middle school students. Making STEM lessons fun and exciting, the Center’s subject matter experts have engaged students in strawberry DNA extraction, building electrical circuits out of lemons and potatoes and unveiling the mystery behind pyrotechnics.
Since nearly half of ECBC’s employees will be eligible to retire in the next ten years, the Center has worked diligently in the community to ignite students’ interest in STEM fields.
“Strategic partnerships in STEM education are critical for us to attract the best and brightest talent in science and engineering,” ECBC Technical Director Joseph D. Wienand said. “By investing in these young minds, we are investing in the future of ECBC.”
Looking to shape a highly-skilled future STEM workforce, ECBC develops and implements educational outreach activities that allow the Center’s scientists and engineers to share the exciting and rewarding nature of their careers with kindergarten through college students and their educators. The college provides classes, degrees and certifications in many STEM fields and hosts a STEM academy for K-12 teachers in the summer.
ECBC and Harford Community College also share a team member: James J. Valdes, ECBC scientific advisor for biotechnology, is the chair of Harford Community College’s Board of Trustees. He has been a board member since 2007. Valdes emphasized the importance of building a robust STEM pipeline with the expertise to solve our nation’s current and future challenges.
“In order to fill the job demands of the future, we need to help prepare K-12 students for the difficult STEM courses in college,” Valdes said. “But furthermore, we need to ensure that our academic catalog is aligned with the skills that are required to succeed in future STEM career fields.”