Mary Doak, ECBC’s program manager for community and educational outreach, has worked for 40 years in the federal government, the past seven years inspiring future scientists and engineers across Cecil and Harford County Public Schools. She has led the Center’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educational outreach efforts since 2007 and significantly expanded the program since then. The program grew from less than a dozen educational outreach activities in its first year to more than 300 STEM activities in 2012. The program reached nearly 9,000 students and more than 1,000 teachers in Kindergarten through 12th grade last year. However, at the end of March, Mary is retiring from her job, one she loves dearly.
“I’m proud to count myself among the many women who have served this great country as U.S. Army civilians,” Doak says. “The contributions of female workforce members are critical to the success of our organization, and ultimately to the defense and security of our nation.”
In her current position, Doak established two formal Partnership in Education Agreements with Harford and Cecil County Public Schools to help enhance their STEM curricula. These agreements have enabled scientists and engineers at ECBC to address the needs of local school systems by complementing traditional science and math lessons with experiences that convey the real-world application of STEM concepts.
As a result of Doak’s dedication and commitment to STEM education in the local community, ECBC – nominated by Harford County Public Schools – won the Governor’s Service Award for Excellence in the Community two years ago. In 2011, she also established an Edgewood Area STEM Working Group to join forces with seven other agencies in the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives (CBRNE) defense community and collaboratively increase awareness and interest for STEM career pathways. In the same year, she led an inaugural Team CBRNE STEM Educational Outreach Day with the Edgewood Area partners, where the CBRNE defense community came together to engage 400 local middle and high school students in 35 different hands-on STEM experiences. Due to the success of this event, ECBC was selected to assist the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command with the execution of last year’s APG STEM Expo in Edgewood. This event took place at three different locations across Aberdeen Proving Ground, to include the C4ISR campus, the Army Research Laboratory and the Edgewood Area. For Doak’s exceptional leadership and contributions to the local community, she was nominated for the 2013 ATHENA Award as well as the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council’s Visionary Award.
Looking to give back to the community and to share their passion for STEM careers, females across the Center have contributed to the success of ECBC’s educational outreach efforts. For the second consecutive year, Doak held an appreciation ceremony where ECBC employees were recognized for their efforts in support of STEM education. Female scientists and engineers like Jadey Pareja have supported various educational outreach initiatives, such as ongoing mentorship programs, career explorations, hands-on scientist-in-the-classroom experiences, summer camps, guest lectures, career fairs and professional development trainings for teachers.
“Sharing my passion for STEM with our younger generation has truly been rewarding, as we rely on today’s students to develop the cutting-edge solutions for tomorrow’s challenges,” Pareja says. “And, it has truly been a pleasure to support Mary Doak in conducting initiatives that inspire students to pursue STEM career pathways.” I95