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    YPG represents ATEC at national eCYBERMISSION

    YPG represents ATEC at that national eCYBERMISSION

    Photo By Ana Henderson | U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground sent a team of engineers and a project manager to...... read more read more



    Story by Ana Henderson 

    U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground

    U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) sent a team of engineers and a project manager to represent its higher headquarters, the Army Test and Evaluation Command, during the 2023 eCYBERMISSION National Judging and Educational Event (NJ&EE) finals.

    The eCYBERMISSION program is a web-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competition for students in sixth through ninth grades. The teams, made up of two to four students along with an adult advisor, work to solve a community problem. Thousands of teams began the journey and competed in state and regional competitions, yet only the top 20 made it to the NJ&EE finals in Hunt Valley, Maryland that took place June 26-29.

    That’s where YPG’s team stepped in with the support of the Army Education Outreach Program funding. STEM Outreach manager Paula Rickleff tells about the opportunity.

    “We take a couple engineers, we take a program manager, and we ship all the equipment.”

    The equipment allows for two labs: a vehicle acceptance and water balloon ballistics lab for students during the Army Lab Days.
    Engineers Michael Torres Jr. and Tracy Haifley with YPG’s Combat Automotive Systems Division led the vehicle acceptance test and Richard Bloomfield and Ashely Lochetto with YPG’s Munitions & Weapons Division (M&W) led the balloon ballistics lab.

    Bloomfield, who serves as an artillery team lead with M&W, has been participating in the finals for the last five years.

    “The last couple years have been really cool,” said Bloomfield, describing the growth of YPG’s participation expanding from one lab to two.
    He and Lochetto enjoy working with the students and teaching them because they see their potential in the world of STEM, and possibly serving in or working for the Army someday.

    “We talk about water balloons and some of the physics behind shooting them, how to get them to land where you want them to, and basically tie that into our job and give them a possible career idea for the future.”
    Even though Bloomfield is there to teach, he says their team also reaps benefits. “It’s always a rewarding experience,” adding that the information fair for participating organizations provides networking opportunities, “We got to go tour their different booths and get additional information. Another benefit is usually ATEC personnel will attend, so we have gotten to meet a few different people from ATEC, from White Sands and different test centers.”

    In addition to the labs, Engineer Maria Villegas served as a civilian mentor for eighth grade students. The role’s responsibility started in early June.

    “I had mentor sessions with my students,” tells Villegas. “Each group presented their project and I listened to them and if I had any feedback, I gave that to them and I provided guidance on how to present to the judges.”

    With this year’s competition wrapped up the teams are already looking forward to next year.

    “Ashely and I are brainstorming our lab to make it better,” said Bloomfield. “We have some ideas to freshen up our lab and are looking forward to next year.”

    Project Manager Janett Rios thanks everyone who had a role in making this and other outreach programs possible.

    “We want to thank the test centers, the supervisors, all the directorates, especially all the engineers who come support. This all helps in teaching our mission to the younger generation, interact with the kids and share out life experience as civilians working for the Army.”


    Date Taken: 07.24.2023
    Date Posted: 07.24.2023 18:05
    Story ID: 449906

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