With a new national goal of having a more effective and focused set of federal programs to support science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) throughout federal agencies, Jacksonville District has gained momentum with a major leap in this direction.
On Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, the Jacksonville District signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of North Florida (UNF), designed to be a framework outlining cooperative educational collaborations between UNF and the district in STEM subject areas for purposes of developing student scientists and engineers.
This memorandum of understanding is the first step in an agreement with the Corps and the UNF School of Engineering in the implementation of an educational partnership program.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been engineering solutions for our nation’s greatest challenges since 1775 and is a leader in STEM,” said district commander Col. Alan M. Dodd. “Learning is a lifelong process, and one of the most effective ways to learn is to assist in developing others. We’re committed to teaming with others to strengthen STEM-related programs that inspire current and future generations of young people to pursue careers in STEM fields.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is the second largest civil works district in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with an area of responsibility encompassing Florida and the Caribbean.
The Jacksonville District provides quality planning, engineering, construction and operations products and services to meet the needs of the armed forces and the nation.
The UNF School of Engineering in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction will be a prime beneficiary of the MOU by providing further opportunities for student internships and jobs, as well as possible future collaborative research opportunities between the two organizations.
“The educational partnership is very important to the further economic development of the region since it will help the University produce more ready-to-work scientists and engineers, plus cement an existing
university-federal agency cooperative relationship,” said Dr. Chris Brown, UNF assistant professor of civil engineering and the main architect of the USACE agreement.
The agreement is an important step for the UNF School of Engineering and is in line with the engaged, community-based approach of its curriculum. “Our students and faculty work on real-world problems of importance to the region, state and nation,” said Dr. Mark Tumeo, dean of the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction at UNF. “This educational partnership is one more important part of that mission.”
The White House and Department of Education focus on educating global leaders and preparing students for STEM-related fields will increase 14 percent between now and 2020. Even more job growth is expected in STEM-related fields such as computer science and biomedical fields.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognizes the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the U.S. to remain the economic and technological leaders of the global marketplace, and enabling the Department of defense and Army in the security of our Nation. We are committed to teaming with others to strengthen STEM-related programs that inspire current and future generations of young people to pursue careers in STEM fields.” - HQ USACE STEM Web site.