Inaugural ERDC Day held at Alcorn State University

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Recently, Alcorn State University (ASU) hosted a team of personnel from the U.S. Army Engineer  Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for a career day. The event—known as ERDC  Day— was the first of its kind to be held on the ASU campus in Lorman, Mississippi.  

“This is the beginning of a strong, renewed relationship with ERDC,” said Dr. Ontario Wooden, ASU Provost and Senior  Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Today is the realization of the partnership that we have been dreaming about.” 

“We are appreciative of ERDC’s commitment in helping us help our students be the best that they can be,” Dr. Felecia Nave, President of Alcorn State University, said as she welcomed the ERDC team to campus on February 23. “We are appreciative of the commitment of Dr. (David) Pittman and his team in making sure that we are more intentional and deliberate in showcasing the relationship and making sure our students are not only prepared, but also very much aware of ERDC and the valuable resource that is right up the road in Vicksburg, Miss.”

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The one-day event featured ERDC researchers and other staff, who introduced the students to various avenues of employment from scientific research to communications. The 12 classroom sessions not only reviewed the subjects of interest to the students but also included an introduction to the offerings and history of ERDC.

“We want to thank everyone at Alcorn for hosting us at one of the best recruiting events we have ever been a part of,” said Dr. Gary Anderton, Director, ERDC Directorate of Human Capital. “ASU’s hospitality, staff engagement and the wonderful students we got to meet were all outstanding. We are looking for this to be the model on how we join forces  with regional colleges and universities in the coming years.”  

“This is an important day for Alcorn and ERDC,” said Speler Montgomery, ERDC Talent Acquisition Program Manager. “We are getting to tell the ERDC story and let students know that there are opportunities to work with us as student  interns as well as full-time jobs when they graduate.”

“ERDC is always looking for the best and brightest,” said Mr. Mark Noel of ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory.  “Strengthening the relationship with Alcorn State University gives ERDC an opportunity to engage with the students early through internships leading to recruitment and employment. Moving forward, strategic engagements will lead  to adjunct faculty and collaborative research opportunities.” 

In addition to the presentations, the students also spoke in person with the ERDC team through a mini career fair. The fair allowed the students to ask questions, visit and take away more information about the various opportunities for employment and internships.

“Resource Management was able to connect with students across the fields of business administration, accounting and computer science,” said Sissy Hudson, ERDC Director of Resource Management. “Having that face-to-face interaction with tomorrow’s all-stars is critical in ensuring a partnership for ERDC’s future financial accountability.”

“We are out in the middle of nowhere, and the biggest challenge for us is connecting to those employment opportunities and helping our students to connect,” said Dr. Carolyn Davis, Director of Career Services and Pre-Professional Programs. “ERDC’s presence here made a world of difference and added value to the mission of Alcorn — to connect students to global opportunities. On a scale from one to 10,  this event was a 10.”

With successful and engaged turnout during the classroom interactions, lunch-and-learn and mini career fair,  organizers of the event said they hope ERDC Day at Alcorn will happen annually and continue to grow in the years to come. 

Presently, 20 ERDC employees have one or more degrees from ASU — 17 with bachelor’s and six with master’s. ASU graduates working at ERDC include awards program specialist, budget analyst, chemist, computer scientist, equal employment manager, information technology specialist, lead security guard, and many more. Two ASU students are currently employed at ERDC. ERDC’s workforce includes more than 2,180 employees, including 1,330 engineers and scientists, many with advanced degrees and international recognition in their areas of expertise. ERDC also partners with leading experts from other agencies,  academia and private industry to provide solutions for the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, civilian agencies and the nation.