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News | June 27, 2017

Engineer mentors future STEM graduates

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

Jeff Greenberg is mentoring the Defense Contract Management Agency’s future workforce. 

He is a supervisory engineer from DCMA Boston who enjoys inspiring students and encouraging them to excel in school. It’s his mission to make sure these students are future science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates, who can later work at DCMA or serve their country in another way. Greenberg co-coaches two robotic teams, with a total of 12 students on both teams, at a middle school in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. 

“I have been volunteering in the schools for about five years,” said Greenberg, who has been an engineer 29 years. “I volunteer to get kids excited and interested in engineering. Hopefully, they will be interested in working in the engineering field, and ultimately for DCMA.”

The teams compete in the First Lego League, which uses the popular toy to build robots based on engineering concepts, including design and building principles. Both teams won the quarter finals in their area and went to the Rhode Island state championship earlier this year where they placed second and fourth out of 80 teams. One later competed in the Razorback International, May 18-21, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where it placed second in project innovation. 

“Jeff was there from the beginning of the robotics program,” said a STEM teacher at the school. “He brings a steady and calm influence to the kids. He does a great job working with them. He’s been instrumental in the success of the program.” 

Greenberg, who has been a part of the DCMA team 13 years, said he volunteered five to six hours a week for eight months to coach both teams. He’s been doing this for two years and plans to continue to volunteer at the school. He said student clubs like the robotic teams help students have a deeper understanding of math and science, and they realize both areas can be fun. 

“I wish First Lego League teams were around when I was in junior high,” he said. “I found out about this program and decided to give back to the kids my excitement of engineering. Hopefully by setting the example, I can convince kids to become engineers and that working for DCMA is a good career choice because we work on fun and interesting projects. I became an engineer because I like designing devices which have real world applications.”

Greenberg said his volunteer experience made him a better supervisor to his employees in the Program Integration and Earned Value Team.

“Coaching the kids refined my coaching and organization skills, which I use daily as a supervisor,” said Greenberg. “It also showed me there is more to life than work. Experiences like this remind me that we work to live, not live to work.”

Navy Capt. Brett Stevens, DCMA Boston’s commander, said Greenberg has a positive attitude and is also a mentor to employees at the contract management office. 

“Jeff leads a successful team in program integration and earned value analysis, which requires a vast knowledge of systems engineering and mathematics,” said Stevens. 

“Jeff’s knowledge is deep in both areas, and when combined with his mentoring skills, enables his team to provide valuable insight to the customer on multiple major programs. Jeff’s enthusiasm and positive attitude towards engineering is well known throughout the agency and his expertise is often requested from other agencies and CMOs.”

In addition to his teams winning accolades for their achievements, Greenberg said the highlight of his volunteer experience so far has been helping students become more confident in their math and science skills as well as their public speaking and teambuilding skills. 

“I have seen some very shy, unconfident kids become much more confident with themselves to the point of competing at the local and national competitions and talking to professionals in the area they researched,” said Greenberg. 

“All the kids have great potential to become extraordinary engineers. During this school year, they learned about the design and research process and proved they knew it. Several of them want to be engineers. I am most proud that both teams competed well and had fun along the way.”