By Vern Garcia
Columbia Recruiting Battalion
September 30, 2016
Fort Mill, S.C -- Columbia Company recruiters used an AH-1 Cobra helicopter to tout Army occupations in science, technology, engineering, and math to more than 2,000 high school students here Sept. 20.
Recruiters teamed up with the Celebrate Freedom Foundation to bring STEM assets and the foundation's Project SOaR™ (Student/School Opportunities and Rewards) to Fort Mill High School.
Project SOaR is an educational outreach program that supports STEM education in high schools, and informs students about STEM career opportunities, particularly in the aviation field.
Students met with pilots and aviation and aerospace instructors, learned about potential salaries in the aviation industry, and about educational opportunities offered in colleges, technical schools, and the military.
"Our goal is to stimulate or reinforce student interest in STEM courses by bringing these assets to the school," said Lt. Col. Robert Garbarino, Columbia Battalion commander. "Students and educators will see that the Army has a variety of technical jobs in aviation and those that support aviation."
Fort Mill High School Principal Dee Christopher said the school was excited to work with the Army on this event.
"The U.S. military is one of the most technologically advanced in the world," Christopher said. "Our students were able to see up close what a career in STEM looks like in a real world application. Our hope is this partnership will motivate many of our students to consider a future in STEM careers after high school."
Dr. Russell David, the foundation's director of aviation/aerospace education, said the foundation wants to help educators enlighten students about the importance of STEM courses.
"We're living in the age of technology," David said. "STEM subjects are not just important, they are essential to the success of millions of children who hope for a profitable future."
Rock Hill Recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Dianne Watson, dubbed the event a success.
"I enjoyed sharing my Army story and hope the students gained a better understanding of careers and STEM jobs in the military."