Written by: C/SGT Moura Awad and C/CPL Allie Pickett
WASHINGTON, D.C. — JROTC cadets and the Engineering students of Howard High School attended the BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year Awards) STEM conference in Washington, D.C. on February 3rd, 2023 which was hosted by Ms. Tonya Ziegler, the CTE/ARL Instructional Facilitator, along with a diverse group of students from Ellicott Mills Middle School. This event helped direct students toward the most suitable career path that fit their GPA, interests, responsibilities, and characteristics. Students moved through stations to conduct different activities; listening to guest speakers, participating in conversations, and engaging in different activities. Guest speakers provided advice on STEM-related subjects, shared their career journeys, and related with students. Guest speakers included Air Force officers from Joint Base Andrews, recruiting offices, and the Reserves. Pepco (The Potomac Electric Power Company) offered advice on different ways to prepare for college and future professions. Northrop Grumman, a well-known company, voiced their experiences and job offers, asking students questions and suggesting various positions within their company that best fit the student. One of the speakers for Northrop Grumman shared, “Through your involvement in our company, you will be able to further develop your understanding of your selected career path while pursuing your education.” Cadets were given a chance to talk with professionals and they experimented with robots, understood their functions, played video games, discovered their construction, and tested VR headsets. All these activities helped students notice a deeper connection between their fun hobbies, such as playing video games, to STEM. Students enjoyed the convention and found it beneficial, a cadet from the Howard Lions Battalion, Cadet/ SGT Biak Tial, stated, “I felt that this field trip was both educational and entertaining.” The field trip would benefit individuals interested in the STEM field and who intend to attend college in the future. It was a wonderful, enjoyable experience!” Another attendee, C/ CPL Isabella Martin, commented, “The BEYA STEM conference was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to learn more about the STEM field and be exposed to new things. Through this conference I was inspired by many people that I met including the representatives from Northrop Grumman. I was inspired to work in engineering as they talked about how they had opportunities to work with NASA and other space corporations. This conference was an amazing opportunity and exposed me to the STEM field” The BEYA STEM conference helped many students discover their interests, learn about occupations, discover career paths that best fit them, and much more.