Army e-mentoring program aims to raise STEM graduation rates

Students and mentors meet in person during a meet-and-greet for the CERDEC e-mentoring program at the University of Delaware’s Career Services Center Sept. 21. (U.S. Army photo by Allison Barrow)

Students and mentors meet in person during a meet-and-greet for the CERDEC e-mentoring program at the University of Delaware’s Career Services Center Sept. 21. (U.S. Army photo by Allison Barrow)

By Allison Barrow, CERDEC Public Affairs

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 28, 2015) College students have a lot of decisions to make: what subject to major in, what concentration to focus on, what internships to apply for, what field they ultimately want to work in, etc.

U.S. Army scientists and engineers are working to make the process a little easier and to increase retention rates among science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, disciplines through a new e-mentoring program.

The U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, program pairs employees with engineering students from the University of Delaware in a year-long e-mentorship in which engineers provide guidance based on their experience as students and professionals in the field. Continue reading

Former “Cheers” actor visits Picatinny to learn military manufacturing techniques

During a tour of Picatinny Sept. 4, James Zunino (right), Picatinny Materials Engineer, shows actor John Ratzenberger a modular tool that can be added onto the Multi-Axis Modular Manufacturing Platform for additive manufacturing. Different tools allow the machine to perform different manufacturing techniques. Photo Credit: Erin Usawicz

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Actor John Ratzenberger, best known for his iconic role as postal worker Cliff Clavin on the TV show “Cheers,” is promoting manufacturing in the U.S.

His interest led him to visit Picatinny Arsenal Sept. 4, where he saw first-hand a number of the advanced manufacturing techniques the installation uses to equip the nation’s warfighters.

Ratzenberger’s interest in manufacturing previously inspired him to produce and host shows like “Made in America,” a Travel Channel TV production highlighting manufacturing companies that produce interesting products across the nation.

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High school graduate gets personal tour of Picatinny labs

This high school graduate (right) impressed us so much with his research on nanotechnology that he got invited for a personal tour of our nanotechnology labs.

This high school graduate (right) impressed us so much with his research on nanotechnology that he got invited for a personal tour of our nanotechnology labs.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — So there was this high school student who just graduated this year who presented a paper at the Monmouth Junior Science Symposium that was so thorough with his independent research on nanotechnology that we just had to get him a personal invite to come and tour our labs. Seriously exciting.

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Picatinny cultivates today’s teacher’s, tomorrow’s innovators

So much learning going on here.

So much learning going on here.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Why stop at just getting students more interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics when we can get local teachers involved and excited as well? Well that’s just what we did and we’re quite pleased with the results.

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Picatinny and NJIT invite middle school girls to get excited about science and technology


PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Picatinny Arsenal and the New Jersey Institute of Technology coordinated a visit here for middle school girls to get them excited about careers in science and technology. How’d it go? You’ll have to find out yourself.

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Picatinny engineers help West Point cadets patent their inventions

This man wants to help you patent your invention.

This man wants to help you patent your invention.

WEST POINT, N.Y. — Two West Point cadets invent something suspiciously similar to Batman’s grappling hook gun. Picatinny engineers rush to help cadets secure patents ahead of Wayne Enterprises.

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Picatinny introduce girls to engineering

Girls, meet engineering.

Girls, meet engineering.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Local area high school students were invited to our “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” night. We like to think it went well.

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Scientist begins Army career, protects nation against chemical warfare agents


Brandon Bruey, a chemist with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, handles, synthesizes, purifies and destroys chemical agents.


ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A recent college graduate moved from Texas to Maryland so he could work with the best scientists in the field of chemical defense.

Brandon Bruey, a chemist with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, said his position allows him the best opportunity to use classroom principles for real-world applications.



Educating with aqua-bots

This underwater robot was built by students younger than 16 years of age. Imagine what they'll build when they graduate from college.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Were you building robots before you turned 16? A select number of students who participated in our summer educational outreach program did just that.

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American students from China in Army science competition

The RADIANS team from the Shanghai, China were the eighth-grade winners of the Southeast region of the Army's eCYBERMISSION science competition.

The RADIANS team from the Shanghai, China were the eighth-grade winners of the Southeast region of the Army's eCYBERMISSION science competition.

One of the cooler stories to come out of this year’s eCYBERMISSION competition judging and awards event was that of the first team to travel all the way from China to compete in the finals.  Students from any U.S. school – whether it’s public, private, a home-school environment or a Department of Defense Education Activity school abroad – can compete. The team in this story came from the Shanghai American School in San Jia Gang, Pudong, China. More photos of the team and all their competitors are on our Flickr site. We have a video up next week.

At RDECOM we are keenly aware of the need for increased student involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education in the U.S.. That’s why the Army sponsors the eCYBERMISSION science competition and we’re so proud to execute it. As the Army’s R&D team we know that these children really may be out future.

This was the eCYBERMISSION’s tenth anniversary judging event, which is a significant milestone in the fulfillment of the Army’s vision for this program and STEM as a whole.

Student robotic challenges also place emphasis on teamwork

The Roxbury Township basketball robot takes a shot at the basket during a recent FIRST Robotics Competition. Standing in back cheering in a red jumpsuit, his right arm raised, is Shahram Dabiri, the Roxbury team coach and mentor. Dabiri is also the DoD Ordnance Technology Consortium Technology Manager at Picatinny Arsenal.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Eight high school robotics teams mentored by engineers at the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) competed March 31st to April 1st at the Mount Olive High School in some friendly robot basketball.

The teams participated in a competition called “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” (FIRST), which challenges student teams to design, build and compete against one another with…

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Army promotes science, technology opportunities to Harford students

Edgewood Middle School students extract strawberry DNA during the Technology Needs Teens program at Harford Community College May 24 at Bel Air, Md. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

Edgewood Middle School students extract strawberry DNA during the Technology Needs Teens program at Harford Community College May 24 at Bel Air, Md. (U.S. Army photo by Conrad Johnson)

By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public Affairs

BEL AIR, Md. — Eighth-grade students explored emerging global-mapping software and DNA extraction with U.S. Army scientists May 24 to boost their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM education.

The Army, technology manufacturers and universities joined about 180 eighth-graders from nine Harford County middle schools. The scientists showcased the array of career opportunities in STEM fields as part of the fifth annual Technology Needs Teens program at Harford Community College.

Lanie Wallace, a research biologist with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, led students through a hands-on demonstration of extracting DNA from a strawberry. She explained the range of applications for DNA research, including medical, pharmaceutical and agricultural.

Mary Doak, ECBC’s community and educational outreach manager, said the country needs students to pursue STEM careers because a large number of scientists and engineers are nearing retirement age.

At ECBC, 44 percent of employees are eligible for retirement within 10 years, Doak said. The Department of Defense has 35,000 scientists, 56 percent of whom can retire within eight years.

Wallace, who attended Edgewood middle and high schools, has started work on a doctorate degree, which is paid for by the DoD through the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholarship for Service Program.

Doak encouraged the students to pursue DoD-sponsored scholarships and internship programs, including SMART; Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Sciences, or GEMS; Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program, or SEAP; and eCYBERMISSION.

Matt Sparaco, a computer scientist with U.S. Army Communications–Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, demonstrated the Command and Control Multitouch Enabled Technology, or COMET, to Patterson Mill Middle School students.

The COMET is a large touchscreen computer that can be mounted vertically to a wall or set up horizontally like a table. Sparaco said CERDEC is developing software to track Soldier patrols, detect enemy fire and view damage from natural disasters.

Students explored the COMET by locating local landmarks using the mapping feature to create fictional scenarios.

Sparaco said researchers are also hoping to add facial-recognition software to allow Soldiers to take a photo with a smartphone or tablet and identify potential enemies. He said the Army plans to transition the software to flexible displays that Soldiers will wear on their uniforms during combat operations.

Army scientists develop deployable renewable-energy solutions


ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Soldiers stationed in remote combat outposts face logistics and safety challenges to power their radios, laptops and GPS units.

U.S. Army scientists are researching methods to harness the sun and wind to ease the burdens associated with transporting fossil fuels to dangerous areas.

Marnie de Jong, an electrical engineer with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, is helping to develop renewable-energy based microgrids that work independently of traditional grid power.

Microgrids help to integrate different sources of energy for more efficient use and storage, she said.

“There has been a larger demand from the field for fuel reduction and power in remote locations,” de Jong said. “As that demand has increased, we have increased our focus in those areas.

“Microgrids will be able to take solar, wind and batteries and use them together. You can use solar when there is no wind available. Different pieces of the puzzle work better in different places. By making this a solution set, you can take what you need given your location.”

To provide alternative power sources to Soldiers in combat, de Jong and her colleagues at RDECOM’s Communications–Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center are developing two systems — Reusing Existing Natural Energy from Wind and Solar, or RENEWS, and Renewable Energy for Distributed Undersupplied Command Environments, or REDUCE.


CERDEC started work on RENEWS in 2009 under an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act program for photovoltaics in which it partnered with RDECOM’s Army Research Laboratory and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. The team has developed RENEWS prototypes and is finishing internal testing, de Jong said.

Units are being sent for operational assessments from Soldiers at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., and U.S. Africa Command.

“The RENEWS system is completely renewable energy [with] solar and wind components,” de Jong said. “It’s meant for smaller, mostly communications systems in very remote locations that are difficult to get to re-supply fuel or [where] it might be dangerous. It would be a self-sustaining system.”

RENEWS is designed to power two or three laptops continuously as long as there is power coming daily from the solar panels or wind turbine, she said. The storage component will be able to provide power at peak demand for about five hours when energy is not being generated by the renewable components.

The RENEWS components weight about 100 pounds, and it is stored in two cases weighing about 70 pounds each.

The Army intends the RENEWS and REDUCE systems to be complementary, resulting in power-grid technology that addresses power generation, distribution, load, renewables and storage.

A major concern for military logisticians is securing routes for fuel-truck convoys. According to Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, environment and technology, said one in 46 convoys suffers a casualty.

“There will be a reduction in fuel that is necessary for regular operations,” de Jong said. “That is one of the major concerns in the field in transporting fuel — logistics and safety. We are working to reduce fuel consumption by supplementing generators with renewable energy sources.”


Work on the three-year REDUCE program is in the early stages, de Jong said. It is designed to be towed on a Humvee trailer.

“The key behind the system is the intelligent power management and distribution, as well as the plug and play capability for devices. Automatic-device detection and power distribution make it a network of power systems that is capable of adjusting based on mission demands and needs,” she said.

The REDUCE integrates renewables with traditional fossil-fuel generators to reduce consumption. The goal is to ease the Soldier’s work by having the system manage all the power.

“The problem with a lot of [Army] systems is that they don’t all work together. Pieces from one don’t necessarily work with pieces from another,” de Jong said. “You can’t get two systems to parallel when they’re made from different places.

“Under the REDUCE system, we’re looking to make that all happen automatically. We [will] have an interface defined for all the systems components such that you don’t run into the problem where the different pieces don’t work together.”


Scientists and engineers across the Army focus on removing obstacles for Soldiers. By integrating smart power systems, CERDEC’s aim is to allow Soldiers to concentrate on their missions instead of monitoring power systems.

“One of the biggest challenges is getting different systems to work together,” de Jong said. “It’s really frustrating for Soldiers in the field when they just want to use this cable with this battery, and it doesn’t work. One of the major technical challenges is having standardization for interfaces and smarts that make all the pieces work seamlessly so the Soldier doesn’t have to configure anything.

“Soldiers will appreciate the plug and play capability. They don’t need to be an expert in power systems. They can just turn it on, and it gives them situational awareness into their power systems. It will report back to them what is going on and if there is a problem.”


The RENEWS and REDUCE systems will also contribute to the Army’s goal of increasing energy efficiency and lessening the reliance on fossil fuels, she said.

“Renewable energy solutions are helping to reduce the carbon footprint. They generate energy more efficiently on-site from renewable sources. It’s good for the Army, good for the Soldier, and good for the environment,” de Jong said.

Picatinny Arsenal employees expand support to New Jersey’s junior scientists

Symposium entrant Elizabeth Dente gives a presentation at the Monmouth Junior Science Symposium on her project,"Benzoin-Based Complex for Skin Repair." Below, listening to Dente's right is ARDEC Director Dr. Gerardo Melendez.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — In the months preceding their annual events, planners for the 2012 Rutgers University and Monmouth University junior science symposiums had every reason to be concerned.

Students at both symposiums submitted 30 percent more papers than the previous year and were concerned that they would “steal” from the small pool of Picatinny reviewers and that one or both symposiums would fall short of meeting the total demand of 192 papers, each requiring a minimum of two reviews.

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Picatinny engineer goes international for science

Picatinny Arsenal engineer Lauren Armstrong atop Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the fifth day of a science exchange aimed at increasing the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — As one of only eight U.S. women scientists selected for a science exchange program with Brazil, Picatinny Arsenal engineer Lauren Armstrong is helping to promote greater participation by women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Retention of women in advanced science is very low, both in the U.S. and Brazil,” Armstrong said.

“While the graduation rates for men and women in hard sciences are nearly equal, the gender gap is significant in upper-level positions.”

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Army undersecretary talks business

Undersecretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal (center) tours a facility at Picatinny Arsenal accompanied by Brig. Gen. Jonathan A. Maddox (right), Program Executive Officer for Ammunition and Picatinny Arsenal senior commander. (Photo by Todd Mozes)

Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. – While the public may associate the U.S. Army with Soldiers and weapons on the battlefield, there is also an “institutional” Army that has functions similar to those of large corporations in the private sector, a top Army official told a business group here April 2.

Speaking before the Morristown Chamber of Commerce, Undersecretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal said the institutional or “business side” of the Army was responsible for the training, recruiting, staffing, equipping and sustaining of the Army forces.

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Robotics competitions promote science education for students

By Ed Lopez

A team from Newton High School in Sussex County, N.J., controls its robot while competing in the FIRST 2010 International Finals in Atlanta. FIRST means "For Inspiration and recognition of science and technology."

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – It is often said that the difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys.

An organization called “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” (FIRST) allows them to play together.

In fact it encourages not only men and boys–but also girls and women –to join in the same activities.

FIRST exists to encourage students from many nations to experience technology and engineering through competitive robotics challenges at several levels.

Personnel at Picatinny Arsenal are involved in advancing the learning and cooperation that the program fosters, and in the process promoting education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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Married Army scientists bolster biological-threat detection

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A married couple, both U.S. Army research biologists, is working together to improve Soldiers’ ability to detect, identify and protect against potentially lethal biological threat agents.


Jody and Mark Gostomski’s research at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, or ECBC, helps the Soldier defend against hazards in the field.

Mark works with dangerous organisms in ECBC’s Biosafety Level 3,. or BSL-3, laboratory, which is one of 45 in the country. He dons sophisticated protective equipment in highly controlled lab conditions to prepare the Army for worst-case biowarfare scenarios.

“We’re dressed head to foot in a Tyvek suit. We have a powered air-purifying respirator,” he said. “Everything we do is double-gloved. BSL-3 organisms are live, and they are higher risk.

“A requirement for Biosafety Level 3 is at least the opportunity to be vaccinated against different organisms — hepatitis, anthrax, botulism.”

Mark is researching the validation of a DNA extraction kit that will replace two kits, which will help streamline the bio detection process.

Jody manages a project to supply genomic material for the Critical Reagents Program. Her role in CRP is to provide high-quality and validated reference materials for use in the development and optimization of biological-detection technologies.

She plans laboratory activities, conducts quality control analysis on the material, and interacts with external agencies.

“It shows how collaboration among members of different branches really comes together and makes for a better product for the customer. For this project, we grow and isolate materials in the laboratory, at both the Biosafety Levels 2 and 3,” she said.


Mark and Jody say that while they are focused on their daily research in the laboratory, it is imperative to remember the end-users — Soldiers.

“It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. We do our job, and a lot of times we don’t think about who it impacts,” Mark said. “The work we do is ultimately for the Soldier.”

“The project I’m working on will help the Soldiers rapidly identify biothreat agents using the Joint Biological Agent Identification and Identification System,” he said. “They can find a sample in the field [and] process it through this kit in a matter of minutes. Within an hour, they have their data.”

Jody echoed Mark’s focus on empowering and protecting the Soldiers and Army civilians who will rely on the equipment’s scientific foundation during a mission. She helped train members of the 20th Support Command and CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives) Analytical and Remediation Activity.

“It’s easy to forget how your job impacts the warfighter,” Jody said. “When you’re in the lab in your own little space, it’s hard to see how that has a profound impact on the overall mission.

“I’ve had the opportunity to train mobile-lab users who go into the field. They may or may not be Soldiers, but they’re on a mission to collect samples and ultimately protect against any type of biowarfare agent.”

Jody said the opportunity to interact with end-users has expanded her understanding of the mission.

“I got to step outside of my laboratory setting and take the expertise and knowledge that I learned by working with these biological platforms [to] stand in front of a room of physical scientists and show them how to use these technologies,” she said.


The couple met in 2004 when Jody joined ECBC after graduating with a bachelor of science in biology from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. They both work for the BioSensors Branch within the BioSciences Division.

Jody said that Mark served as one of her mentors. He started working for ECBC 13 years ago while attending Towson University; he graduated in 2003 with a bachelor of science in biology.

“We really got to know each other throughout the course of five years of working together. We built a very strong friendship, both inside and outside of work,” Jody said.

They married in May 2011.

“What I really like about working with Mark is the reason that he and I became such good friends before we got married,” Jody said. “He is just a great sounding board. He is always the person I would go to when I had issues in the laboratory.

“If I had questions or needed help troubleshooting something, he was always my go-to guy. He always resolved my problems.”


Jody and Mark encourage young students to explore science outside the classroom to see whether it would be a strong career fit. They are both studying for master’s degrees in biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University.

“As I got to college and had more experience in the laboratory, it was interesting to take what you were learning in the textbook and see that come to life through experiments in the laboratory,” Jody said. “I liked how hands-on it could be.

“If you have an interest in a science or engineering field, take every opportunity to become as exposed to those fields as you can with an internship at the college level or a shadowing experience in high school. Do something to get away from the textbook and actually get into the field where they’re using the technologies that you’re learning about,” she added.

Baltimore students discover Army technology


BALTIMORE — The inquisitive minds of about 300 local students examined, inspected and explored the science and engineering that supports U.S. Army Soldiers.

During the Innovative STEM Conference, the 2012 Maryland Junior Science and Humanities Symposium’s first event over three days, Aberdeen Proving Ground research and development organizations displayed their contributions to America’s Soldiers.

Morgan State University hosted the expo March 8 at its Hill Field House.

Carl White, associate dean of MSU’s School of Engineering, said the event is an important step in showing students how their academic achievement is critical to the country’s future.

“It’s really important for these kids to understand that the future of the country relies on them. Technology is what drives our country,” White said. “For us to be on the top and be competitive, we have to get these kids engaged early in math, science and engineering.”

White said that MSU invests heavily in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, outreach efforts in 12 Baltimore high schools through after-school programs and mentoring.

Army scientists showed students how they use the principles in STEM courses — math, physics, biology, chemistry, computer science — to design, build and test everything that Soldiers will need for a mission. They displayed protective masks and vests, helmets, armor, night-vision devices, power sources and battery chargers.

Lt. Col. Quentin Smith, with U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, leads a project for network modernization. He said the military will depend on today’s students to build future high-tech equipment for America’s defense.

“The Army has to invest in science and technology,” Smith said. “We have to invest in the education of our young people to pursue these technical professions because our future relies on it.

“To be able to build out the new network architecture and have the force of the future, it’s primarily dependent on the younger generation having a passion for mathematics and science to develop and mature the technologies that are going to be required.”

Joseph Bryant, a senior at Reginald F. Lewis High School of Business and Law in Baltimore, plans to study business management at Coppin State University or enlist in the Army.

“I’ve learned that math and science apply to everything in life. It applies to the Army. It applies to getting a job in the future. It applies to everything you could ever do,” Bryant said.

White said he hoped to demonstrate to students that while they are the consumers of today’s electronics, cell phones and computers, they can be the technology innovators of tomorrow by pursuing STEM fields.

“The benefit of this is to expose [students] early to all the different types of technology. It’s to let them interact and engage, touch and feel the technology,” White said. “They can understand that one day they can be the inventors, engineers, mathematicians or scientists that produce this technology.”

Army exhibitors at the expo included eCYBERMISSION, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Army Research Laboratory, CERDEC, Aberdeen Test Center and APG Veterinary Clinic.

Army scientist readies Soldiers’ masks for chem-bio hazards

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Soldiers’ protective masks must be ready for the unforeseen hazards of combat. The U.S. Army relies on the scientists of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center to design, engineer and test these critical items.


Jadey Pareja, an ECBC chemist, leads five scientists in the Protective Equipment Test Branch who test and analyze the carbon materials that will be integrated into mask filters. Her team aims to provide the scientific platform that shields America’s protectors.

“Our mission within our team is to protect our protectors,” Pareja said. “Everything we do within these walls is eventually going to be fielded to the Soldier.

“If we don’t do something properly or miss one tiny step, it could ultimately affect the life of someone protecting our country.”

Pareja, the carbon team leader, and her colleagues test individual- and collective-protection systems for joint-service programs. They ensure the carbon components meet the requirements for equipment fielded to Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors.


Pareja said she developed a passion for chemistry with the encouragement of her parents and teachers.

“Several teachers in middle and high school were not only there to teach you but to support you,” Pareja said. “I’ve always been a math and science hands-on person. I needed to be active and in the lab. I started working in a pharmacy when I was 16 as a junior pharmacy technician, and I loved it. I loved learning about all the chemicals, what drugs were made out of, everything about it.”

Pareja graduated from Edgewood High School and hoped to become a pharmacist after earning a bachelor of science in chemistry from Stevenson University in Baltimore County. However, she returned to the area after college to work at APG in 2002. She worked as a contractor until ECBC hired her in 2005.

“Shortly before going to pharmacy school, I decided it wasn’t the avenue I wanted to pursue. I wound up working at the place where I grew up,” she said. “Here I am working in Edgewood.”


Pareja stressed the strong bonds between scientists and engineers allow ECBC to deliver the best products to the field. Her group complements the work of the permeation and mask teams within the Protective Equipment Test Branch to provide protection from chemical and biological hazards.

“The mask team will test the masks as a complete end item with the carbon filter on them. We also have the permeation team that tests the actual material — suits, boots, gloves — that the Soldier will wear in the field,” she said.

The carbon team conducts several tests on M-18 and M-12 filters and C2A1 and M-61 canisters, Pareja said. It also taps into the wide knowledge base of subject matter experts across ECBC’s three directorates.

“We do a lot of routine testing, which has been designed by the Research and Technology Directorate. We work a lot of hands-on, side-by-side with them,” she said. “Once they perfect a method, they pass it on to us.

“There is a lot of interaction between the research side and engineering side. We rely heavily on their expertise.”