Surrounding university leaders, community and government leaders gathered at White Sands Missile Range to discuss future internship and job opportunities for local students during an Academic Summit, Feb. 26. The focus of the summit was to bring in more students within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics field.
“We are losing a lot of STEM talent and the U.S. isn’t producing students that go into STEM fields,” said Test Resource Management Center Principal Deputy Director Derrick Hinton. “We want to introduce them to this career field so that it is an option that they’re thinking about.”
The summit is the follow up to a Memorandum of Agreement that was signed by a WSMR Commanding General and the leaders of local universities on August 2012. The memorandum served as a promise to work together with the installation to bring in local student talent and in turn support the local universities. The universities in attendance were New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the University of Texas at El Paso. Hinton said they are currently working with 50 universities and hope to continue to partner with universities that are already doing research in fields they are interested in. There are currently 90 active research projects in the Test and Evaluation sector.
“We can’t afford to lose our technological edge,” Hinton said. “We will continue to develop and mature capabilities so that we will not lose our technological edge.”
Hinton’s lead presentation emphasized the efforts to incorporate local university talents within the Test and Evaluation field. After Hinton’s presentation the group gathered at the Frontier Club, where WSMR organization heads had an opportunity to present what their organization specializes in and what they are looking for in future interns and possibly future employees.
“We’re very interested in having one of the students come in and address some of the challenges we’re facing,” said Center for Countermeasures Director Rodney Rogers.
The summit ended with a presentation from each university representative, where they showcased their university’s talents. The result of the summit was an agreed upon “STEM Day” at each of the universities, where WSMR tenants would visit the school to discuss the talents they are in need of to local students. WSMR Commanding General Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham said this was a good start to the summit, but yearly and possibly bi-annual meetings are necessary in order to ensure the program thrives.