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Public Affairs Office title

U.S. Army Soldier & Biological Chemical Command
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: December 30, 2002
No: 02-61

USARIEM named "Outstanding School Partner"

NATICK, Mass. -- The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), an installation partner at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center here, received the 2002 Outstanding School Partner award from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and Ashland School Committee for its contributions to the David Mindess School during a ceremony at the school Dec. 17.

USARIEM was nominated by the Ashland school system, which has a formal agreement with USARIEM under the federal Partnership in Education program, and along with the Natick and Framingham school systems, actively supports science education. The institute was selected from more than 80 nominees statewide. Since 1997, USARIEM soldiers and civilian employees have enhanced the learning experience with science projects at David Mindess School.

"We teach our science curriculum, and USARIEM is another really neat piece that enriches it," said Thomas Bannon, a fourth-grade teacher at Mindess. "When I call, they're willing to talk, and we're doing different things each year."

When the school and USARIEM formed the partnership, they thought of science projects that would interest the children and developed methodology.

In two separate experiments, pupils in grades 4-6 measured the effect carrying a backpack load has on heart rate and measured the maximum weight a fourth-grader should carry in his or her backpack with the assistance of Sgt. William Allison and Sgt. Roberta Warsham.

Peter Frykman and Dr. Everett Harman, both research physiologists, were consulted for a fourth-grade experiment on body size and physical performance that lasted two years. The experiment from start to end was presented at the school auditorium.

"The kids got a big kick out of it. They weren't distracted and were really into it," Harman said. "It's great fun. I love it. You're talking about inspiring the next generation."

A new experiment the fourth-graders will be conducting involves the pupils recording what they eat, analyzing the data and determining if there's a deficiency in their diets.

The partnership isn't all about the scientists coming to the students. Annually, children who participated in these studies are able to visit USARIEM to tour the facilities and see the researchers at their workplace.

Bannon said he is particularly impressed by how the relationship has lasted uninterrupted for six years, reaching an estimated 1,000 children.

"USARIEM has given its time and talents, an opportunity to visit world-class facilities with world-class scientists and can relate what they're doing to a 9-year-old," Bannon said. "It's amazing every time I think about it. I hope it never ends."

For more information about USARIEM, please visit their website at http://www.usariem.army.mil.


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