USACE Japan District engages with next generation of engineers
CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan District hosted several events Feb. 22-26 to engage youth in observance of National Engineers Week.
According to the National Society of Professional Engineers' website, NSPE established Engineers Week in 1951 to increase an understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers and raise public awareness of engineers' positive contributions to quality of life.
USACE Japan provides comprehensive engineering, construction and other services in support of peacetime and contingency operations in Japan and throughout the Pacific region, according to www.poj.usace.army.mil.
Japan District started the week off with students of Zama American High School attending a recognition ceremony at Japan District, recognizing six engineers for obtaining their professional engineer licenses.
Col. John Hurley, commander of Japan District, spoke to the students about the field of engineering before the ceremony began.
"You get to work with a team of incredibly smart professionals to figure out a variety of different solutions, while trying to understand which solution best fits the needs of your customer," said Hurley.
If you work hard in school, there are rewards to becoming an engineer, he continued.
"Once you become an engineer and part of a team providing solutions to people's problems, that's incredibly rewarding."
Jose Santana, junior at ZAHS, said he did not know much about engineering and was not interested in engineering at all, but after hearing from Hurley and other engineers, he learned some interesting aspects of the field.
"Today I learned there's much more to engineering than I realized," said Santana. "I did not know there are so many types of engineers everywhere, playing a role in buildings we sometimes take for granted; it's pretty cool."
Later in the week, Mark Jones, chief of engineering division for Japan District, spoke to a group of ZAHS students in college and career planning class about his experience as an engineer and career opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related fields.
Jones also provided advice on college preparation and shared some of his personal stories about going to college.
Japan District's celebration of Engineers Week ended with seven engineers from Japan District's Okinawa Area Office visiting Kadena Elementary School in Okinawa.
The engineers set up several stations for students to learn about engineering through hands-on activities, such as towering marshmallows and popsicle stick bridges.
Donnie Osborne, civil engineer for Japan District who was recognized for receiving his P.E. license, said his message to the next generation of engineers is they "have to pass the baton on."
"One thing I hope to see is the ability and desire to mentor and inspire those who come after them," said Osborne.
"It's always going to be a process of growing in your professional ability but you have to pass the baton on to someone who follows behind you," he continued.
Hurley said Engineers Week is celebrated during the week of Feb. 22 - birthday of first U.S. President George Washington because of his notable survey work before becoming president.