Roundtable promotes STEM career opportunities, workforce diversity
By Martha Cenkci
DALLAS - Leaders and staff from the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, participated in a STEM Roundtable at Dallas’ Townview School of Science and Engineering on Sept. 28, discussing one-on-one with students and faculty the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The event, which was entitled “Serving our Nation through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math”, was held at the Dallas magnet school recently recognized with the Intel’s School of Distinction Award for the best high school math program in the country.
The roundtable was organized under the sponsorship of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, and the school was selected both for its standing as a 2012 America’s Best High Schools and for its broad diversity among the student body.
It was an opportunity to convey to these students how much the Nation needs them, according to SWD commander Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Kula, as well as the many career options offered by the U.S. Army and the Corps of Engineers.
“This was an incredible opportunity to connect with these gifted young people, who are America’s future engineers and scientists,” Kula said. “Our Army needs engineers, the Corps needs engineers. These kinds of events promote careers in STEM. And because Townview is primarily composed of minority students, it also helps us promote diversity in our workforce.”
After his presentation on the Army Corps of Engineers and career opportunities, Kula joined other SWD staff members for the roundtable discussion with the students. Panelists were Bob Slockbower, SWD Director of Programs; Ken Conley, SWD Environmental Planner; Constance Williams, SWD deputy chief of Civil Works Integration; and Dyron Jolly, deputy chief, SWD Human Resources Division. Each brought a unique background and perspective to their careers with the Corps.
Representing Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson was Lisa Sherrod, Director of Outreach for the Congresswoman.
“I had no idea that the Army Corps of Engineers did so much,” Sherrod said. “It was very enlightening to learn about the Corps and all the possibilities it offers for these young people. Coincidentally, the Congresswoman received the STEM Champion Award a few days prior in Washington D.C. for serving as an innovative leader and advocate for increasing diversity in the STEM fields.”
SWD plans to continue its relationship with Townview School of Science and Engineering, as well as reach out to other schools in the Dallas area.