DVIDS – News – Sitka Woman Finds STEM Career With Army Engineers

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Everyone pursues a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for a different reason. Danielle Perkins, an apprentice in the Army Department of the US Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District, followed in her father’s and grandfathers’ footsteps in this area.

“Believe it or not, my freshman year in college I was majoring in chemistry so I could be a pharmacist,” Perkins said.

After a year of classes, she decided the field was not for her and withdrew from her studies.

“I moved to Sitka and ended up working for the State of Alaska as a Field Inspector,” she said. “I loved being out in the field and seeing the process of building things – roads, tracks, bridges – and that prompted me to go back to school. My dad told me to try engineering from the start. Now he’s like, ‘I told you so’ all the time.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2019, Perkins joined the district through the Department of the Army’s apprenticeship program at the end of 2020. The two years of training allows him to graduate. access different offices within the organization to foster a better understanding of the neighborhood, cultivate strong working relationships and acquire solid institutional knowledge.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to see as much as I wanted before settling into a position,” she said.

Using her experience, Perkins has worked her way through cost engineering, civil and sanitary engineering, geotechnical and construction engineering assignments, where she currently works.

“My favorite part of the job I’m in is that I can rotate over the next few years and see how the whole process works,” said Perkins. “When I get back into cost engineering as a permanent position, I will understand the process and know who to turn to in other sections for assistance. “

In her future role as cost engineer, she will be involved in projects from design to completion. The work will require him to develop cost estimates for projects that include the cost of design, construction and potential changes during construction.

Perkins views the STEM field as multifaceted with the potential to access a diverse set of professions such as aerospace engineering, astronomy, robotics, computer engineering, and more.

“What they all have in common is that they help advance our understanding of the universe and build our future,” she said.

Reflecting on her decision to join the STEM field, Perkins is excited to put her skills to work and fulfill her dreams of making a positive difference in the world.
“I was the kid who asked why, and I became an engineer for that very reason,” she said.
Every year on November 8, National STEM Day celebrates the value of an education in science, technology, engineering and math. The military is the largest employer of STEM professionals in the U.S. government, and the District of Alaska currently employs seven recent graduates as part of the Army Apprenticeship Program.
“We encourage young people to pursue their interest in STEM by obtaining a degree and seeking employment in their field of choice,” said Mark DeRocchi, chief of Engineering, Construction and Operations for the District of Alaska. “We are always recruiting to fill critical positions in STEM disciplines and can provide rewarding careers for candidates with the right skills.”
To learn more about entry-level civilian career opportunities with the DoD, see: https://www.dodstem.us/
To learn more about recent graduate programs with USACE: https://www.usace.army.mil/Careers/Internships/

Date taken: 08/11/2021
Date posted: 08/11/2021 1:03 PM
Story ID: 408896
Site: JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, AK, USA

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