REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Oct. 10, 2019) – Believe in yourself. Ask questions, even if they’re the hard ones. Be open to opportunities. Go to class.
It was only an hour, but the wisdom women of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center imparted on the students involved with the AUM Foundation’s Pathway 2 Success program has the potential to be long-lasting and life-changing. Six P2S participants paid a visit to CCDC AvMC Oct. 10, where they had the opportunity to have a mentorship session with AvMC Executive Director Dr. Juanita M. Christensen and other female leaders from throughout the center, as well as tour the AvMC Prototype Integration Facility.
“Part of this is to give you insight into the Army and what we do on the civilian side, and to open up your breadth of understanding about what types of job opportunities are out there,” Christensen said.
The high school seniors expressed an interest in a variety of careers, from nursing and forensics to mechanical engineering. The upfront and honest conversation gave students a glimpse at the challenges they may face as women in the workforce, such as the way others perceive them.
“There’s a big difference between really putting your foot forward and being assertive, and being aggressive,” said Laurie Fraser, AvMC Weapons Development and Integration Directorate acting deputy director. “You always want to be ethical. You always want to be proud of the person looking back at you in the mirror. Be assertive, but don’t be aggressive.”
Advice ranged from the practical – like don’t skip those college classes – to the big picture.
“Find something that you love to do. We spend a lot of hours in the day at work, please don’t spend those hours unhappy – it won’t be good for you, it won’t be good for your family, it won’t be good for whoever you work for,” said Deborah Bostick, acting WDI propulsion and structure associate director. “Find something that you enjoy doing. Believe in yourself. Don’t let anything get in the way of achieving your goals.”
The mentors also provided a fair bit of motivation.
“Just because something sounds hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it,” said Christi Dolbeer, acting deputy director for the AvMC Engineering Directorate. “You might surprise your own self at what you’re capable of. Don’t shy away from something just because it sounds hard.”
P2S reaches out to under-resourced female high school seniors in an effort to empower and support them through job shadowing, enrichment classes, mentoring and financial assistance. Christensen spoke to the group in July.
“I challenge you to mentor back,” Christensen said. “Give back to those who are coming up behind you. Encourage them. Give them that same help up that you’ve been given, which is why we’re all here – we like to give back, because we were given help.”
The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center, formerly known as the Aviation & Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which conducts responsive research, development and life cycle engineering to deliver the aviation and missile capabilities the Army depends on to ensure victory on the battlefield today and tomorrow. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation’s wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.
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