“My dad worked on that!” a child said enthusiastically as New York District Commander Paul Owen explained to a roomful of children the important missions their parents are working on in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Owen was kicking off the District’s annual “Bring Your Child to Work Day – Inspiring the next generation towards STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
“The goal of this program is to show young girls and boys the work their parents are performing at the Army Corps and how it helps the public and possibly inspire them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Jean Lau, equal employment opportunity office (EEO) specialist and STEM outreach coordinator, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District.
The program included taking the twenty six children, ages 6-15, through a variety of hands-on engaging activities organized by employees.
The first exercise - “Office of Counsel Jeopardy” - was presented by Ellen Simon, assistant District counsel and Wes Miller, assistant district counsel. They created a “Jeopardy-like” game that included questions about the federal government. The children were divided into teams and each team selected questions to answer.
The second exercise - “Tower Building Contest” - was presented by Nathanael “Nate” Wales, civil engineer, Planning Division. In this activity the students were divided into teams and they built towers out of straw, Popsicle sticks and tape. The goal was to build the tallest tower that can withstand wind forces provided by a fan. Wales said, “I was impressed by the energy and creativity of all of the children who participated. I too had a lot of fun!”
The third exercise - “Real Estate Appraisals” - was presented by Timothy Hogan, lead appraiser, Real Estate Division, whose two children attended the program. Hogan distributed pictures to the children that showed them the different types of buildings our agency appraises, some of which they knew very well, including Disney World and the Empire State Building.
The last exercise - “Beach Building Contest” - was presented by Peter Kuglstatter, civil engineer, Operations Division. Kuglstatter created a game where the children learned how to fill in a barrier island that was breached due to a hurricane. They were divided into teams that represented each part of the project from dredging to piping the sand onto the beach.
Kevin Meranda, resident engineer and team leader brought his 7-year-old daughter to the event. “It's a great opportunity for the children to experience some of what their parents do every day. It also provides members of the Army Corps an opportunity to see the faces of the most important people in our lives. This was a great experience for me and my daughter and we are looking forward to next year.”
If you are interested in volunteering for future STEM events, please contact Estelle Capowski, STEM PM or stop by the EEO office.