As we move out in 2018, we are now fully on the “run” to our Centennial in 2020. Lots of great things are happening around SAME.
Congratulations to those Posts that are embracing our vision by leading collaboration at the local level. In fact, one of this year’s SAME Academy of Fellows Golden Eagle Award recipients, Gen. Craig McKinley, USAF (Ret.), was the keynote speaker for a Jacksonville Post event in January that was jointly hosted by four organizations. He made it a point to thank us for co-hosting the event with industry partners. As a Society, we have the opportunity to make a difference in many significant ways on our Run to 2020 and Beyond, but perhaps none more so than in inspiring, encouraging, and preparing America’s youth to pursue a career in STEM. Through the SAME Camps Program for high schoolers and our STEM outreach efforts for K-12 students, there are so many inspiring ways for members to become involved.
Last year, SAME Posts spent nearly 16,000 hours supporting STEM. One way we are making it even easier for members to participate is by establishing national partnerships with locally focused objectives. Our partnership with the Technology Student Association (TSA) exemplifies this. SAME’s STEM Committee, with wide support from Posts, provides umpires for K-12 competitions across America through TSA. Along with SAME President Sal Nodjomian and Vice President Cindy Lincicome, I had the opportunity at a joint Pikes Peak Post/Denver Metro Post event in January to spend time with the Colorado TSA State Board (all high school students). They were beyond impressive, and a testament to the impact our organization has on America’s youth!
As one of the students, Emma Hopson, wrote to us after the event:
“The conference opened my eyes to how many opportunities there are in the engineering field. Thank you for introducing me to several engineers and staff members in the engineering world. As a high school student, talking to the adults who have successful careers and who have been through the college process and getting a job was very helpful. The conference was an amazing experience that has gotten me more excited than ever to become an astronaut. It brought back all my passion for hard work and showed me why I am doing what I am doing in school. I hope to continue to work with you throughout my education.”
To Scott Prosuch, STEM Committee Chair, and the entire team, thanks for all you are doing to nurture our relationship with TSA. To all our Posts who are engaged in STEM outreach, keep it up!
SAME’s STEM and Engineering & Construction Camps remain the core of our impact on high school students. We are getting closer to reestablishing the SAME/U.S. Navy Camp and this year we will welcome new camps at Scott Field (Air Force) and Twentynine Palms (Marine Corps).
When we look back and wonder how we ever got to where we are in life, we can all name role models who influenced us.
Our camps provide one of the most important opportunities for members to inspire future generations. Notice I didn’t say “engineers.” Granted, we would like them all to join our industry, but the biggest impact we can make on the youth we serve is to motivate them to be productive citizens and to understand the values that made our nation strong.
We officially call volunteers who plan and run the camps “mentors.” I prefer to call them role models. When we look back and wonder how we ever got to where we are in life, we can all name role models who influenced us. This is my personal plea, and I speak for the national leadership team too, to every member and even members of our partner organizations: sign up to be a camp mentor (www.same.org/stemcamps). The experience will be just as rewarding for you as it will be for our campers!
[Article first published in the March-April 2018 issue of The Military Engineer.]