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August 16, 2013
By Mark Brighton

Science and technology professionals are not only an integral part of Army operations, but also an irreplaceable cog in the civilian world. However, despite the importance of so-called STEM positions, there is a surprising lack of students graduating from science, technology, engineering and math programs. In an effort to help fill this growing need, the Army Corps of Engineers recently teamed up with the Department of Defense Education Activity to encourage veterans and military children to pursue such degrees.

The program is still in its earliest stages, with the Corps of Engineers identifying which school districts are most in need along with determining what subjects will be emphasized in each school. Officials hope the corps will be in schools by the middle of October. Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick, the corps' commander, is leading the push and says that fostering a love of science and math is critical to the nation's success.

"We already have in our kit bag neat things that would inspire young boys and girls to want to at least be interested in the STEM fields," Bostick said. "Whether that is bridge building, or understanding the Mississippi, and everything that happens on the Mississippi from dams and levees, recreation, ecosystem restoration, those are the types of things we can talk about and how the COE [Corps of Engineers] is engaged."

This new initiative led by the COE and DOD is just one of many efforts aimed toward improving educational opportunities for the military community. Most recently, President Barack Obama unveiled his "'8 Keys to Success" to help schools create a welcoming environment that will make it easier for vets to pursue their educational goals.