ECBC director talks STEM outreach during Women In Defense breakfast

From right, ECBC Director Dr. Eric Moore, speaks on a panel with Gary Blohm, director of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, and Larry Muzzelo, deputy to the commander of the Communications-Electronics Command, during the Women In Defense Mid-Atlantic Chapter breakfast meeting at Aberdeen Proving Ground Jan. 18, 2018. | U.S. Army Photo by Brian Feeney, ECBC

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) Director Dr. Eric Moore explained the importance of a diverse STEM-educated work force to the science of the future during a Women In Defense Mid-Atlantic Chapter breakfast meeting at Aberdeen Proving Ground on Jan. 18. The title of the event was “Leveraging DoD’s STEM Strategic Plan.”

“We actively recruit at universities, career fairs, and through our very active STEM outreach program at area schools,” said Moore. “We also have internships such as ECBC’s summer Minority Undergraduate Student Internship Program and our scientists serve as mentors at the Aberdeen High School’s Science and Mathematics Academy.”

He added that ECBC is also very active in the annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards and the Minority Serving Institution STEM Research and Development Consortium, a collaboration between defense research organizations and Hispanic and historically black colleges and universities throughout the country that ECBC established with the NAACP in 2014.

Moore was one of three panelists at the breakfast meeting. Larry Muzzelo, deputy to the Commanding General, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), and Gary Blohm, director of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) Intelligence and Warfare Directorate, also shared their organizations’ efforts to increase the number of STEM graduates from under-represented communities in their workforces.

“Havre de Grace High School plans to establish a computer science magnet program in the next two years, and CECOM will partner with the program to get more young people pursuing software and information technology educations engaged in defense research,” said Muzzelo.

The panel also addressed the challenges under-represented STEM graduates face in ascending to a leadership position once they are hired by a defense research organization.

“There are only so many leadership positions in any organization,” said Moore. “So, to get there, you have to have grit and drive. That means volunteering for tough jobs.”

He added that it is also important for these organizations to have a plan with metrics to increase the diversity of their workforce, and to put more effort into recruiting.

During the question and answer session, several chapter members offered to assist the panelists’ STEM recruitment efforts by making their organizations’ networking and e-mail lists available to them when they have job openings.

Women In Defense is a national organization established to cultivate and support the advancement and recognition of women in all aspects of national security through networking, education, and career development. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter serves the area defense community through scholarships, education, professional development, and networking programs.

Reflecting on his participation on the panel, Moore said, “I’m honored Women In Defense asked me to be a part of their panel. It is an outstanding organization that is doing a lot of hard work to not only help women in the defense world make professional connections, but help members make impactful contributions to the community. It’s a great asset to our community here.”

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center