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Investing in the Future

By Jamie Lien, PEO EIS Public Affairs

Students tried on the headsets and spoke to each other, while music played in the background, simulating Soldiers in helicopters or tanks.
Students tried on the headsets and spoke to each other, while music played in the background, simulating Soldiers in helicopters or tanks.

PEO EIS Participates in Walt Whitman Middle School STEM Career Day

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Program Executive Office, Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) participated in Walt Whitman Middle School’s annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Career Day on Friday, June 7, 2013. Despite the rain, 36 organizations demonstrated the real world application of STEM fields to junior high school students.

Students were mesmerized by the AMIS’ electronic tracking systems, which is similar to systems used by FedEx.

Students were mesmerized by the AMIS’ electronic tracking systems, which is similar to systems used by FedEx.

PEO EIS programs that participated included Automated Movement and Identification Solutions (AMIS), Defense-Wide Transmission Systems (DWTS) and Vehicular Intercom Systems (VIS). Each program provided students with interactive demonstrations and opportunities for question-and-answer discussions. Students were mesmerized by the AMIS’ electronic tracking systems, which is similar to systems used by FedEx, and were particularly engaged when presenters Bob Carpenter, Dave Rogers, Mike Morrissey and MAJ Shayla Parker gave out pens for questions.

The VIS briefing team of Alexander Meyers and Ernita Kelley, VIS fielding trainers, illustrated to students that the closest satellite was 30 million school buses away and that the satellites could allow Soldiers to access the internet, almost instantly, in war zones. Students understood what it meant to hit a hotspot for WiFi, especially in the desert.

A DWTS engineer, Jim Ward, discussed the importance of VIS headsets to students. Students were shocked the headsets could block out excess noise and teachers lightheartedly asked where they could get the nearest set. Students tried on the headsets and spoke to each other, while music played in the background, simulating Soldiers in helicopters or tanks.

COL Clyde Richards, Jr., Program Manager (PM) for Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems (DCATS), LTC Jeff Etienne, PM DWTS, and Mr. Twyman Bledsoe, Program Director VIS, also attended the event and encouraged students to participate in the demonstrations and emphasized the importance of STEM in everyday life.

Richards, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer-Oriented Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Information Systems Technology, commented, “STEM is important for many, many reasons. It gets kids thinking about the importance of their math and science classes at an early age. The earlier they understand the significance of these classes and how valuable these disciplines are to their futures, the better off they're going to be. The longer it takes to get this point across, the harder it is for many of these kids to catch up. That can put them at a real disadvantage. And if you walk that lesson out to the macro level, it applies just as much to the country as a whole. We are competitive to the degree that we successfully emphasize and get our kids pursuing these disciplines. It's imperative: early and often, we have to keep on message."

This is the first year that PEO EIS has participated in Walt Whitman Middle School’s STEM day. Other participants included NASA, Microsoft Gaming and Infamous Robotics.

Posted July 01, 2013