“We build projects, give presentations, talk at career days and judge science fair events,” said engineer Charity Grano, manager of performance excellence and quality services and lead of the Blue Grass Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Outreach Program. “We always try to inspire students to develop an interest in a technical field.”
Engineers at the plant perform many different jobs, from designing structures and systems and reviewing technical documents to testing and analyzing equipment that will destroy the chemical weapons stockpile stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
But they are also encouraged to give back to their communities through volunteer work with kids. The project’s education outreach program supports engineers and other employees who wish to volunteer time in the classroom. Volunteers may assist in an education outreach presentation or go solo into a classroom, depending on their comfort level.
“We can provide a project to a volunteer who might want to go build something with sixth graders to teach them about structural engineering, or many other technical fields,” said Siobhan Adkins, education outreach specialist. “We reach thousands of kids each year and the response from teachers and students is overwhelmingly positive.”
The two main goals of the project’s volunteer program are to strengthen community relationships and to inspire area children about STEM careers.
“What better way to connect the Blue Grass project with the community than through this program?” said Ava Steele, business manager. “I may not be an engineer, but I have had the chance to talk about how engineers help me do my job through the design and creation of computers, calculators, even the chair I sit in. The kids love it!”