From the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center:
A group of ninth-grade students recently spent one of their few remaining days of summer vacation exploring cyber security, digital forensics and future careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) during a tour of the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC).
The group of 19 Anne Arundel County students and their instructors toured the Center as part of the two-week Cyberwarrior summer program sponsored by CyberWatch, a National Science Foundation-funded initiative to increase the quality and quantity of the cyber security workforce through education at all levels.
Advanced Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Division Chief Mark Schlein shared valuable advice with the Cyberwarrior students for their future career decision-making process and encouraged them to consider ECBC as a potential employer.
“When looking for a professional path, your main target should be to find something you really enjoy doing,” he said. “You can have fun and get paid for it — we have guys who create animations and get paid for it.”
ECBC Computer Scientist Jeffrey Warwick, who leads the Conceptual Modeling and Animation Branch within the ADM Division, explained how successfully turning his hobby into a career at ECBC has allowed him to contribute to the team’s efforts to protect the warfighter on the battlefield.
“Within only three weeks, the ADM team designed, built and began testing an enhanced claw for the Buffalo Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Route Clearance Vehicle providing a twisting and gripping capability,” he said. “Helping soldiers to get their jobs done more effectively and safely makes our work very rewarding.”
Touring the various areas within the ADM facility, the group of Cyberwarrior students learned how ECBC workforce members apply their expertise and use emerging technologies to deliver rapid response concept-to-product total solutions. Subject matter experts held brief presentations on recent projects such as the development of the MRAP Buffalo Egress Trainer, a training simulator that enables soldiers to practice how to exit the vehicle when it flips over, or the prototype of an enhanced Apache helicopter protection mask increasing pilots’ comfort during their missions.
“This experience has been really amazing and interesting,” said Tyler Phillips, a student in the Cyberwarrior program. “There is so much to learn at ECBC. I thought I knew a lot on this subject, but I learned so much more than I thought I would today.”
At the Center’s Protection Factor Test Facility, Engineering Technician Leroy Stitz demonstrated the Center’s historical mask display to the group and showed them the test chamber filled with corn oil aerosol to simulate mask exposure to chemical agents and to detect potential failures. In addition, he offered to measure volunteers’ facial sizes, a process to assess soldiers’ mask sizes before testing them in the chamber.
“The federal government and the U.S. Army offers outstanding civilian job opportunities that you want to look out for,” Stitz said. “Where you are now is the first step in the right direction for a successful career.”
According to Summer Program Instructor Mary Alice Gehrdes, the combination of science, engineering and operational solutions under one roof made the visit to ECBC, a one-of-a-kind research and development center, an invaluable experience.
“In terms of career exploration, this was absolutely awesome for our students,” she said. “We got to see it all. Who would have thought that you can create video games and make things happen for people on the front line at the same time?”
For more information about ECBC, visit http://www.ecbc.army.mil/.