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One-on-One: with the Army Chief of Engineers
by Lango Deen
USBE: Recently, a joint project between Jackson State and
the Corps of Engineers was announced. Can you tell us about
new research involving black engineering colleges?
Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp: Our relation-
ship with black colleges is strong. Our research arm, the
Engineering Research and Development Center, signed nine
educational partnership agreements. One is with Jackson State
for high performance computational design of novel materials.
Tuskegee University [is] collaborating on predicting degrada-
tion of composite materials. We work with Howard University
in geo spatial, [and] we hire about six Alcorn State students to
work in ERDC in their advanced chemistry and biology lab at
Elizabeth City State University. A lot is going on.
USBE: How does the USACE build on these relationships?
LTG Antwerp: This is a long-term effort. We’ve got a
number of relationships where we are trying to increase the
number of young people taking math and science. In addition,
we are looking at all engineering schools, because we are hir-
ing people right now.
USBE: What is the Corps doing to prepare kids for 21st-
Century jobs?
LTG Antwerp: We’re involved with the Society of American
Military Engineers, which has taken on K through 12 with a
special emphasis on minority students. [The society] has camps
in the summer and brings students in to get them enthused
about engineering. The Corps’ part is we get those students
out to projects, [where they] can see that math is just a prereq-
uisite so that you can do wonderful things like design a dam or
a hospital.
USBE: A few years ago, a university in Illinois and the
Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp
Corps signed a memorandum of understanding to protect
natural resources and enhance sustainability. These days the
Following the annual US Army Corps of Engineers
talk is all about sustainability, and with the federal government
workshop at the 23rd Black Engineer of the Year Awards and
moving to upgrade America’s infrastructure, what will we see
STEM Global Competitiveness Conference in February, Lieu-
in the next couple of years?
tenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, Jr. spoke to USBE&IT
magazine. The chief of engineers of the United States Army
LTG Antwerp: What we’re doing is environmental and
celebrated the more than 200 resumes that Corps recruiters
socio-economic research, so we can increase sustainability of
collected at the BEYA Career Fair. Twenty-eight offers were
our projects. By that we mean [projects] are energy efficient,
made. The Corps now boasts 18 new employees from diverse
that they use materials that are environmentally friendly — all
fields — architecture/architectural engineering, construction
the way from development to the use of those materials to
management, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering,
the[ir] disposal. We are looking for things that will last longer
civil engineering and electrical engineering technology — all
and give us longer service. One thing they are working on is:
of them discovered during Black Engineer of the Year week.
how to use rainwater that drops on property. In a hospital
12 USBE & Information Technology I DEANS Edition 2009
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