Army Education News

U.S. Army Hosts Strengthening America’s Youth Committee Leadership Meeting

Oct 22, 2014

On September 17, 2014, the U.S. Army hosted the Strengthening America’s Youth (SAY) Leadership Meeting at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, VA. The U.S. Army Marketing and Research Group (AMRG), led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Marketing, Mr. Mark Davis, convened over 20 community and education leaders from around the country and senior Army leaders for a day of engaging discussions and presentations about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

Mr. Mark Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Marketing,
delivers opening remarks at the 2014 SAY Meeting.

The SAY Leadership Committee was established in 2010 to bring together a group of action-oriented leaders and organizations whose primary mission is to support and advance the success of students and young people. The discussion during the September meeting focused on the critical role STEM plays in career readiness and job placement. Leaders from the Army and education community discussed the importance of STEM skills in strengthening the nation’s workforce and also spoke to the importance of diversity in the Army.

SAY members convene at Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall on September 17, 2014.

“We all have an enterprise challenge – to inspire interest in health, graduation, post-secondary paths,” said Mark Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Marketing. “The SAY Committee comes together to focus on the issues, think out loud and discuss how we forge ahead together to meet that common challenge.”

Major General Allen Batschelet, Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), started off the presentations by discussing qualities such as discipline, loyalty and courage that go into developing future Soldiers. Colonel Brian Mennes, Deputy Commanding Officer, U.S. Army Cadet Command (USACC), shared his perspective on the challenges and rewards he experienced first-hand during his Army career. He shared what makes a strong Officer in the 21st century Army and the leadership skills needed to make tough decisions in complex environments. In addition, Command Sergeant Major Willie Clemmons, USAREC, shared his Army story and discussed the importance of helping people to understand what being in the military really means.

Attendees listen to presentations at the Strengthening America’s Youth
Committee Meeting on September 17, 2014.

The meeting’s keynote speaker was Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). He spoke on the topic of Army strength and capabilities in STEM and shared how he was able to build and maintain a high-ranking career, an opportunity that he would not have experienced without an Army education. He also focused on the importance of having a diverse Army that mirrors what the country looks like. He noted that there are two institutions that have sustained our democracy since the beginning – military and education and these institutions need to keep talking and working together to keep that sustainment.

Lieutenant General Thomas Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), delivers the keynote speech regarding Army strength and capabilities in STEM.

The SAY members also had a chance to hear from students earning their college degrees while working toward their military careers. Four Cadets from from George Mason University’s Army ROTC program talked about how the Army has helped advance their education and given them work experience and skills to prepare for a solid future career. Cadets Andrew Giller, Scott Van Zandt, Ryan Hampton and Felix Camacho gave their perspectives on a variety of topics including finding camaraderie through Army ROTC as well as mentorship and internship opportunities.

Cadets Andrew Giller, Scott Van Zandt, Ryan Hampton and Felix Camacho chat with
Colonel Brian Mennes at the SAY Committee meeting.

After a day of thought provoking and engaging presentations by Army and education leaders, SAY meeting attendees broke into small groups to discuss how the Army and education community could leverage technology and communications channels to ensure that information was reaching young people in the most effective way possible. It was a unanimous agreement among Army and SAY members that social media channels such as Vine were important tools to reach young audiences. Attendees also discussed the important role that parents play to spread messages to their kids.

The Army hopes to continue playing a role in furthering education, leadership and career building opportunities for students and values its longstanding relations with education organizations. The SAY Committee meeting proved to be productive and effective in strengthening partnership opportunities between education leaders and the Army. Through these kinds of collaborations, the Army can work together with civilian organizations to ensure that STEM education and leadership is valued in our nation’s youth.


SAY members had the opportunity to engage and ask question to various
Army leaders about STEM education and partnership opportunities.

To see more photos from the SAY Meeting, please visit, GoArmy Flickr.

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