West Point Hosts LEADS Conference for APS Students

DSC_0119Last Friday, 171 APS middle and high school students attended a Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity in STEM “LEADS” Conference at North Atlanta High School, hosted by the United States Military Academy at West Point.  The guest speaker for the conference was our very own Dr. Timothy Gadson, associate superintendent of High Schools!  During the event, students broke into small groups where they interacted with West Point cadets.  APS middle school students attended STEM robotic sessions while high-schoolers and cadets discussed ethical decision making.  At the end of the day, the conference was treated to several funny yet poignant skits about how today’s teenagers face ethical dilemmas.

Lt. Col. Anthony Johnson, Math Dept. Director at West Point, stated “for every
unemployed American, there are two unfilled STEM jobs due to the lack of qualified applicants.”  Johnson then went on to say “West Point’s goal is to broaden an under-represented urban pool of potential employees by introducing them to STEM and leadership.”  Lt. Gen. Bob Caslen, West Point’s Superintendent, views this as a “win-win” partnership with Atlanta Public Schools, hoping to interest students in West Point.  For many that don’t know, the United States Military Academy annually ranks amongst the top five public colleges nationwide – and is free to attend.  Graduates serve in the Army for four years as an officer.  After their four-year service obligation, many West Point graduates go on to land six-figure engineering jobs on par with their Ivy League counterparts. DSC_0149Our students had a great time last Friday.  Hopefully they learned a little bit about ethics, STEM, and what it’s like to be a West Point cadet.