ECBC Chemist Receives “Best in Homeland Security Education” Award

Shawn Davies awarded inaugural award for work as a senior capstone mentor, guest speaker and teacher resource.

CCDC Chemical Biological Center Public Affairs | May 12th, 2016

ECBC Chemist Receives “Best in Homeland Security Education” Award

Shawn Davies, a chemist at ECBC, was presented with a “Best in Homeland Security Education” award at the Maryland Homeland Security Educational Alliance’s ceremony and student showcase in Baltimore on May 10.

A chemist from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) was recognized for her work with high school students in the inaugural “Best in Homeland Security Education” awards presented Tuesday, May 10 during the Maryland Homeland Security Education Alliance’s Ceremony of Appreciation and Student Showcase in Baltimore.

Shawn Davies, a 10-year ECBC employee who conducts independent analysis and trains warfighters in detecting chemical and biological threats, was recognized for her work as an outstanding senior capstone mentor, guest speaker and teacher resource. The awards honored individuals who prepare our future workforce to handle emergency operations and ensure homeland security and public safety.

Davies has been volunteering in the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (HSEP) Program at Joppatowne High School in Harford County for six years. The program was developed 10 years ago by Harford County educators and emergency management professionals who developed a unique high school curriculum designed to prepare students for careers in homeland security and public safety. The program launched in 2007 at Joppatowne High School and now serves more than 1,000 students in 14 counties.

This program [HSEP] takes students’ interest and aptitude for science and gives them an avenue to develop themselves.
Shawn Davies - ECBC Chemist

“It’s an excellent program,” Davies said. “It exposes students to people who live in the community who are doing this work.”

At the beginning of each school year, Davies takes on a senior in the science program and mentors the student through the completion of a capstone project which is required for graduation. “All projects require the students to think about how they can help with emergency preparedness or homeland security,” she said.

She guides the student through research, surveys and simulations. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t help that much, but I try to give them direction and be a sounding board to bounce ideas off of,” Davies said.

Previous student projects have included developing a simulation model of the decontamination process and developing a triage system for chemical attack response. This year, Davies assisted her student in developing a lesson plan to teach 10th graders on chemical detection, which was on display at the awards ceremony and will be formally presented at a school program on May 19.

“Really, we’re developing the next set of leaders,” she said. “This program takes students’ interest and aptitude for science and gives them an avenue to develop themselves. Hopefully, we’ll inspire them to major in science in college.”

Not only does Davies serve as a mentor, she is also a guest speaker in science classes at the high school and makes herself available to both students and teachers as a resource, said Mike Zipay, a HSEP teacher at Joppatowne who helped develop the program and also received an award at the event. “Shawn brings a wealth of knowledge to my students,” he said. “She’s a great mentor and works well with the kids.”

Added Zachary Lovelace, another HSEP teacher at the high school whose student Davies is assigned to this year, “Shawn has been an invaluable resource for the students. She always helps in any way possible, including mentoring multiple students in a school year. I’m a chemistry teacher but she’s a real-world expert. Without the contributions of volunteers like Shawn, the program would not have grown to where we are now.”

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (CCDC Chemical Biological Center) is the Army’s principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology, engineering and field operations. The Center has achieved major technological advances for the warfighter and for our national defense, with a long and distinguished history of providing the armed forces with quality systems and outstanding customer service. The CCDC Chemical Biological Center is located at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.