By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Fort Hood Herald
The Army Test and Evaluation Command's top leader met with the next generation of engineers and scientists Thursday at Killeen's Shoemaker High School.
Army leaders are never too busy to talk to students who have an enthusiasm and excitement for math and science, said Maj. Gen. Roger Nadeau. He was in the Fort Hood area visiting the command's U.S. Army Operational Test Command, which has provided mentorship and support to Shoemaker's robotics team and the Killeen Independent School District's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy since 2002.
Nadeau talked with academy students about careers and advancements in engineering and technology he has seen during his three years as commander of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and in his current position. He described autonomous robots designed to help soldiers carry heavy loads and electromagnetic guns and the development of their extending rounds by Army engineers.
The robotics team, the Cyberwolves, is preparing for a competition in Dallas this month and one in April in Houston. Teams from around the world had six weeks to build soccer-ball-kicking robots before sending completed projects to Dallas, according to information from the Killeen Independent School District.
Nadeau encouraged the students' work in robotics, saying "what you are into is huge."
Involvement in science, technology, engineering and math is sorely lacking, Nadeau said, and he applauded the Shoemaker students for their enthusiasm and work in robotics.
"Good on you," he said. "And keep pushing."
Nadeau graduated from the University of Rhode Island and talked about the influence of math and engineering in his job. Unlike the Shoemaker students, he didn't get interested until he was a young second lieutenant learning how tanks operated and how much they relied on the fields.
During a presentation by several senior members of the robotics team, Jessica Shea talked about the emergence of women in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. While there are just a few female students on the team, they have a hand in every aspect of constructing the robots.
Encouraging women to enter fields typically dominated by men is "vitally important because girls are smart, too," Shea said.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.