84th Engineers help fuel Hale Kula minds with science

| April 15, 2016 | 0 Comments
(Photo by 2nd Lt. Ben Groce, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command) The "Lions" with Aiden Mendoza as their Team Captain took first place in the Team Building Bridge Competition. Aiden is shown driving his team to victory.

(Photo by 2nd Lt. Ben Groce, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)
The “Lions” with Aiden Mendoza as their Team Captain took first place in the Team Building Bridge Competition. Aiden is shown driving his team to victory.

Story and photos by
2nd Lt. Ben P. Groce
84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade
8th Theater Sustainment Command
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, are identified by some as the most important areas of study for the next generation.

So, why not use creative ways to excite young students’ curiosity in these fields by hosting a fun-filled, action-packed day of activities that highlight the usefulness of this knowledge.

The students at Hale Kula Elementary School pose holding their handmade bridges with Sgt. Javier A. Gutierrez (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Jay Mendoza of 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

The students at Hale Kula Elementary School pose holding their handmade bridges with Sgt. Javier A. Gutierrez (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Jay Mendoza of 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

That is what Principal Jan Iwase had in mind when she organized, “Super STEM Saturday,” April 9, here, at Hale Kula Elementary.

“This school empowers learners to explore, discover, create and share, but it can’t just be bound to the classroom,” explained Iwase. “We held this event to ignite our students’ interest in a fulfilling career for their future and to have passion in STEM when they see it in their daily lives.”

However, the event could not have taken place without the dozens of volunteers who sacrificed their Saturday morning. Among those volunteers were engineer Soldiers of the “Never Daunted” 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

In keeping with the battalion’s proud history of gap crossing, Soldiers encouraged and assisted future engineers in construction of their own bridges.

Pfc. Sabrina Gleason, an 84th Eng. Bn. horizontal construction engineer, helped students build bridges out of Popsicle sticks, modeling clay and pipe cleaners.

“It was great to have an opportunity to share my knowledge and love of engineering with these children,” said Gleason, “and, hopefully, get them thinking about careers in STEM.”

A father and son team show off their handiwork during the STEM Saturday event held April 9 at Hale Kula Elementary.

A father and son team show off their handiwork during the STEM Saturday event held April 9 at Hale Kula Elementary.

Outside, Sgt. Javier Gutierrez, an 84th Eng. Bn. horizontal construction engineer, separated kids into teams and helped them brainstorm bridge designs and implement those plans into a real structure a remote control car could traverse.

A father himself, Gutierrez was happy to see so much enthusiasm from the kids.

“I didn’t expect anyone here to be conquering the Imjin (River) with their designs, but they surprised me,” said Gutierrez. “For their age, these guys are on track to be some hard-charging Sappers.”

Whether constructing bridges from dry spaghetti or making boats to hold pennies, children and volunteers alike had a great time at this year’s Super STEM Saturday. Hopefully, more than a few future scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians took their first steps toward their perspective careers today.

Future engineers show off their work at this year's Super STEM Saturday with Sgt. Javier A. Gutierrez and Sgt. 1st Class Jay Mendoza proudly hoisting the Engineer Castle.

Future engineers show off their work at this year’s Super STEM Saturday with Sgt. Javier A. Gutierrez and Sgt. 1st Class Jay Mendoza proudly hoisting the Engineer Castle.

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Category: Community, Education

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