Fifty-five children in kindergarten through high school got a glimpse into what it’s like to work on a military installation during the Bring Your Child to Work Day event hosted by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, or JPEO-CBD at APG South (Edgewood) July 20, 2017.
The annual event for JPEO-CBD personnel and their children, featured hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, and job-shadowing activities; demonstrations by subject matter experts; and building tours.
Co-organizer Steve Lusher, public affairs and strategic communications for JPEO-CBD, said to commemorate the day each child received a personalized passport which was decorated with stickers to mark his or her progress after successfully completing a series of learning stations.
“Our goal is to leave the children with a greater appreciation of science, technology, and to [the] dedicated work their parents contribute towards supporting our service members and our nation,” Lusher said.
At one learning station, subject matter experts with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Pyrotechnics Branch explained the equipment and process for making colored smoke pyrotechnics.
“Each child [also] received a commercial glow stick to get them thinking about how chemistry can be used to generate colored light,” said Anne Hise, with JPEO-CBD.
Other highlights included an overview of 3-D printing at ECBC’s Advanced Design and Manufacturing facility, and vehicles tours provided by the 20th CBRNE Command and the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command.
After lunch, Brady Redmond, with JPEO-CBD, built a simple spectroscope — an instrument used to split light into separate colors — using a cardboard tube, aluminum foil, rubber bands, cardstock and diffraction grating film. The children used the spectroscope to observe the spectra created by several common artificial light sources: incandescent bulb, a compact fluorescent bulb, and light-emitting diode bulb.
“This activity demonstrated that white light is composed of a range of visible light wavelengths, seen as a color spectrum, and that the spectra can differ for artificial light sources depending on how the white light is created,” Redmond said.
Kieran Redmond, 12, described the day as “awesome,” adding that he especially enjoyed learning how to build a spectroscope with his father.
“I would want a career here,” he said.
Maelie Zacchetti, with JPEO-CBD, said her son Kieran Zacchetti, 5, enjoyed exploring a Mine-Resistant Protected, or MRAP, vehicle.
“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “It’s a neat variety of stuff. He always asks what I do [at work], and what sort of things are going on.”
The day concluded with a fun outdoor “bubble decontamination” activity. After the children were “contaminated” with bubble solution from a bubble maker, they were “decontaminated” with water from a sprinkler provided by the Directorate of Emergency Services’ fire department.
Co-organizer Jennifer Nicholson, JPEO-CBD lead for Strategic Communications, said the event was moved from April to July so children could participate without missing school. She said she was pleased with the turnout.
“Of course we picked the hottest day of the year, but that’s how it goes; we are grateful for the fire trucks,” she said.
After the “final” decontamination phase, the children received JPEO-CBD stickers for their passports. The day ended with an ice cream social for parents, children and volunteers.
Courtney Dagistan, with JPEO-CBD, who brought her daughter Ava Dagistan, 6, thanked the organizers for planning the event, calling it a “special and memorable day.”
“I think the adults had just as much fun as the kids today,” she said. “And it’s special to see your co-workers with their children. It’s a different kind of happy when you see people with their children.”