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Marine Corps engineers spark interest in STEM during annual festival

By Monique Randolph, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command | April 17, 2018

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Engineers from Marine Corps Systems Command were on the lookout for the next generation of engineers and scientists during the USA Science and Engineering Festival April 6-8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Engineers from several MCSC program offices took part in the three-day event that aims to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—for more than 350,000 students and attendees every year. The event includes over 3,000 exhibits from government agencies, academia, industry and STEM organizations nationwide. MCSC has participated for the past three years, highlighting how the Marine Corps uses STEM to develop equipment and weapon systems for Marines.

“It is never too early to plant the seed when it comes to science and math,” said Karrin Felton, Engineering Competency manager at MCSC. “Many kids think [STEM] is boring or hard, but it’s a lot of fun. From [designing] the material in a helmet, to 3D printing replacement parts, to [information technology], there are so many opportunities for them to use their talents, interests and creativity to make our world better.”

This year, MCSC’s exhibit included a 3D printer, FITLIGHT demonstration, and an opportunity to try on Marine helmets and other protective gear. Such hands-on displays enabled the engineers to engage with attendees and educate them about the Marine Corps and MCSC’s mission of equipping Marines.  

“Marines are the lifeblood of what we do,” Felton said. “We want people to know they can serve our country as Marines, but they can also be behind the technology that supports them.”

Day one of the event included a career fair, where MCSC employees met with high school and college students, and attendees interested in careers in STEM.

“We have to continue to build that cadre of experts in order to remain competitive in today’s peer/near-peer environment,” said Jeannette Evans-Morgis, chief engineer of the Marine Corps and deputy to the MCSC commander for Systems Engineering and Acquisition Logistics. “STEM is everywhere, so it’s really important that we have a large population getting into STEM [career fields].”

MCSC currently employs more than 400 people who work in STEM fields, as well as college students who enter the MCSC workforce through various developmental programs.  

“Studying STEM can make such a difference,” Evans-Morgis said. “We hope to not only show how we are making a difference in the Marine Corps from a STEM perspective, but also to influence students to get into STEM and maybe be future employees or civilian Marines.”  
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