Monday, March 10, 2014

Northeastern Maryland Technology Council recognizes ECBC leader, mentor in STEM education

The Northeastern Maryland Technology Council (NMTC) honored professionals for their contributions to the advancement of education and technology in northeastern Maryland during its 2014 Visionary Awards Gala at Richlin Ballroom in Edgewood, Md., on Feb. 27.

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s (ECBC) Suzanne Milchling and Suzanne Procell were both recognized for their work supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives in Harford and Cecil counties by the NMTC.

More than 300 leaders in industry, government, non-profit and education arenas attended the evening event. “We are honoring remarkable people who are playing key roles in moving our region forward in the areas of education and technology,” said NMTC Board President Michael Parker. “These are individuals who selflessly donate their time and talents to make a difference in their community.”

Milchling, ECBC’s director of program integration, was presented with NMTC’s Leader Award for playing a critical role in expanding innovative STEM initiatives that engage students and teacher in organizations at Aberdeen Proving Ground. ECBC Quality Manager Procell received her Mentor Award for founding, formalizing and coordinating the Kids & Chemistry program that teaches hands-on chemistry concepts to hundreds of fifth grade students each year in the area.

“In one way or another all of our futures are impacted by the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” Milchling said. “It only makes sense for me - for us - to invest our time, our money, our energy into developing the future of our country. It’s very rewarding for me as a scientist and a parent to share my passion for science and impact it can make.” 

Research laboratories like ECBC require critical thinkers trained in STEM fields to fulfill their missions. ECBC is the nation’s principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense. Since nearly half of the Center’s employees will be eligible to retire in the next ten years, Milchling and Procell have worked diligently in the community to ignite students’ interest in STEM fields. The Center will need scientists and engineers to join their ranks armed with fresh, innovative ideas.

ECBC Director Joseph Wienand shared that ECBC was able to significantly advance STEM education by “saying yes” to a structured, multi-faceted educational outreach program that encompasses career exploration, curriculum development, guest lecturing, mentoring, project judging, scientist-in-the-classroom activities, STEM learning modules, summer camp support, teacher professional development and tours.

“By investing in these young minds, we are investing in the future of the ECBC workforce," Wienand said. "When ECBC forms partnerships with organizations that also see the value of investing in the local communities, it creates one more bond solidifying the Center’s ties to our neighbors."

Five of the eleven NMTC honorees, including Milchling and Procell, were from Aberdeen Proving Ground. Gary Martin, acting director of the Communications-Electronics Command, received the visionary award. Dr. Robert Lieb, Ph.D., research physicist retired from the Army Research Laboratory received a Mentor Award, and Carmen Kifer, a chemical engineer with the Chemical Materials Activity, was recognized as a rising star.

Last year the Visionary Awards Academy presented Wienand with the Leader Award and ECBC’s now retired Program Manager for Community and Educational Outreach Mary Doak with the Innovator Award.

Please click on this link to view additional photos of ECBC’s participation in the 2014 NMTC Visionary Awards:

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