Army Education News

U.S. Army Soldiers, Top Fuel Racing Team and Electronic Dance Music DJ Unite to Share Importance of STEM Education

Jun 16, 2015


What do Soldiers, race car drivers and electronic dance music (EDM) DJs have in common? That’s the exact question students who attended the U.S. Army and Ten80 STEMfest in Houston, Texas found themselves asking on the morning of May 13, 2015.

During a day filled with panel discussions with industry leaders, workshops involving teamwork and leadership and an EDM party, the students learned how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) play an integral role in the careers of U.S. Army Soldiers, drag racing teams and EDM DJs.

Staff Sergeant Roudy Ferns helps students deconstruct and rebuild a remote controlled race car during the Ten80 Race workshop. 

The U.S. Army supports Ten80 Education’s initiative to promote an academic curriculum emphasizing STEM. The Houston STEMfest event was one of two events of its kind taking place in 2015. During the event, more than 1,000 high school and middle school students gathered at Kingdom Builder’s Center in Houston where they learned about the opportunities STEM skills provide for a variety of career paths, including numerous opportunities on the elite Army team.

As the event opened, U.S. Army Soldiers challenged the students to put teamwork to the test as they competed in group sit-up and push-up contests before a panel discussion. The students then had the opportunity to ask question of a panel that included Terri Stripling, founder and chief executive officer of Ten80 Education, Neal Strausbaugh, assistant crew chief of the U.S. Army Top-Fuel Dragster, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Sampson Emanuel and Daniel Crespo, EDM DJ. Each discussed the importance of furthering education and the benefits of developing STEM skills.

Terri Stripling, founder and CEO of Ten80 Education, Neal Strausbaugh, assistant crew chief of the U.S. Army Top-Fuel Dragster, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Sampson Emanuel and Daniel Crespo, electronic dance music DJ, discuss the importance of STEM in their careers. 

"The United States has the best military in the world,” said Staff Sergeant Emanuel. “The only way we can maintain that status is with innovation and technology. And in order to do that, we need the best people in the world to come work with us.”

Staff Sergeant Emanuel showcased the versatility of the U.S. Army team by describing the multiple ways STEM skills are used throughout career paths in the Army. He discussed how the Army is adaptive in size, structure and skills to meet the ever-changing challenges of today and tomorrow. In order for Soldiers to be prepared, they must have elite training and STEM education.

Following the panel, students engaged in some friendly competition across six workshops. Soldiers lent their STEM expertise to help the teams compete for points. During the workshops, students learned about binary coding, discovered how to deconstruct and rebuild a radio-controlled car and worked together to create a marketing plan for a business idea.

After the workshops, students reunited for a performance by DJ Crespo. The Chicago-based DJ further discussed the importance of science and technology in his career, as well as every other job in the future.

DJ Daniel Crespo performs electronic dance music for more than 1,000 Houston-area students.

At the end of the program, IMPACT Early College High School of Baytown, Texas was named the winner of the 2015 Houston STEMfest event.
The next U.S. Army and Ten80 STEMfest event will take place in Miami in fall 2015. In addition to the STEMfest events, the U.S. Army is sponsoring 10 Ten80 National STEM League Expositions taking place across the country in 2015.

Students from IMPACT Early College High School pose for a photo after winning the Ten80 STEMfest Student Racing Challenge Exposition.

*Photos courtesy of Ten80 Education.





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