DISA Director Hawkins meets with the next generation of STEM professionals

A group of tech-minded teens met with Defense Information Systems Agency Director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins on Nov. 6. The group of 11 has been participating in "DISA's Interactive Student Career Opportunity and Volunteer Experience Resource Program"-- the DISCOVER program.

The DISCOVER program is a follow-up to DISA's Summer Technology and Engineering Program: Uncovering Potential (STEP UP) Program. DISCOVER offers students in Anne Arundel, Md. schools an insider's view of what it's like to work at DISA headquarters, which is also located in the county at Fort Meade.

They spend about two hours a week alongside a mentor for a "typical day at the office." The mentors are DISA employees who volunteer their time for the program. Students get to partner with professionals in areas like personnel management, network services, information assurance and procurement.

This is the fifth year DISA has offered the program. Students learn about potential careers in math, science, engineering, and technology fields. Through the experience they also learn how to conduct themselves as professionals. Mentors provide guidance on communicating in the workplace and how to set and achieve goals.

To qualify for the DISCOVER and the STEP UP programs students must have a minimum 2.75 grade point average. They must also be sponsored by a teacher or academic counselor and submit an application that includes a personal statement. Of course, the first requirement is showing an interest in science, technology, engineering, and/or math. On meeting Director Hawkins, Ivan Quiles, a sophomore at Anne Arundel County, Md.'s North County High School said, "It was way cool… like meeting a [chief executive officer]."

LINK TO PRESS RELEASE: http://disa.mil/News/Stories/2013/students_mentored