CADETS from the world-famous US military academy West Point will travel to Limerick next month to help children in local schools wage an all-out assault on mathematical and engineering tasks.
West Point, ranked by Forbes in 2009 as the No 1 university in the US, is dispatching seven cadets on a special mission in which they will team up with civil engineering students at UL.
West Point is one of the most exacting third-level colleges in the world and its alumni include many of the great generals who served in the US army.
West Point students have a much more regimented life than the under graduates they will team up with on their Limerick assignment.
West Point has an 11.30pm curfew. It doesn’t allow alcohol, rooms must be kept meticulously clean. Students have to keep their hair neat, their shoes shined, their clothes crisply pressed. They also receive a world-class education, at no cost, and incur no debt —except for a duty to their country.
A spokeswoman for UL said: “UL civil engineers will team up with seven cadets and four faculty members from West Point’s civil engineering programme to target six schools in the Limerick region to share in the excitement and joy that mathematics and science has to offer.
“This high-energy team will work with students, including 120 primary schools students from Southill, to show how engineers use maths and science to design the structures that are part of our everyday life.”
The students will be involved in in-class activities that demonstrate some basic science and maths concepts that engineers use in practice. The children will use interactive computer programmes to design structures and this will be followed by building and testing their designs in the playground.
Other schools participating in the 10-day event include Ahane NS, Model School, Milford NS and Gael Cholaiste Luimnigh.
The schools have postponed their summer holidays for a few days to be part of the programme.
Among the West Point cadets will be Cadet Erin Anthony. Erin is one of West Point’s top civil engineering majors, but she’s also a top-class athlete. She was a strong Rhodes Scholarship candidate and is currently ranked 28th in her class of 1,105 cadets.
Prof Steve Ressler, who is spearheading the initiative with UL, said: “Cadet Erin Anthony is so interested in the project that she gave up her post-graduation vacation to participate.”
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