National Engineers Week: USACE Japan District engages middle school students
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (February 27, 2017) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan District celebrated National Engineers Week Feb. 23 with a visit to students at Zama American Middle School, speaking with them in the school auditorium about engineering and safety during earthquakes.
“Today is a representation of the STEM Program: Science, technology, engineering and math,” said Chris Nelson, USACE Japan District’s safety manager.
“We want them (students) to broaden their experience by finding out what engineers do, what people like myself do in the safety field… we want them to go away understanding that there’s an exciting world out there for them and that STEM offers a lot of opportunity,” said Nelson.
The program began with Fran Firouzi, project manager for USACE Japan District, giving an overview of engineering.
“We decided to explain a natural disaster, and how to be prepare for it, and how to be safe, as well as a presentation of the behavior of buildings and structures, and focus on understanding how key infrastructure stands up to extreme forces such as earthquakes,” said Firouzi.
Nelson’s presentation focused on safety and how to prepare before, during and after an earthquake strikes.
“I’ve touched on what would you do during an earthquake, preparation for an earthquake, and then after the earthquake, what kind of actions you would take to protect yourself and your family members,” said Nelson.
Jennifer Lee, eighth-grader at ZAMS, said what she will remember most is earthquake safety: how and where to hide, where not to go, and the hazards of an earthquake.
Another eight-grader at ZAMS, Anna Prest, said hearing about the infrastructure was interesting to her.
“I definitely learned about the different materials that are used when constructing buildings and what materials are safe to use, especially when natural disasters are present in the area that the building is in,” said Prest.
Kaliq Naffouj, eighth-grader at ZAMS, said that one of the things he found interesting was how buildings were made safer for areas with earthquakes.
“I liked the safety part but I’d really rather focus on aerospace engineering. I like to design stuff and sometimes with aerospace engineers they get to go into space,” said Naffouj.
National Engineers Week, according to its website, was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers and is dedicated to ensuring a diverse, educated workforce by increasing an understanding and interest in engineering and technology careers.
USACE Japan District provides comprehensive engineering, construction and other services in support of peacetime and contingency operations in Japan and throughout the Pacific region.