ERDC announces new partnerships with Vicksburg Catholic School and Porter’s Chapel Academy

By Annette Kirklin, ERDC public affairs specialist

VICKSBURG – The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) recently signed an educational partnership agreement with two Vicksburg, Mississippi schools – Vicksburg Catholic School (VCS) and Porter’s Chapel Academy (PCA). These agreements ensure collaboration and the exchange of ideas between ERDC and the schools.

VICKSBURG – Christopher Williams, principal of Porter’s Chapel Academy; Dr. David Pittman, director U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC); and Dr. Virgil “Buddy” Strickland, principal of Vicksburg Catholic School; sign educational partnership agreements on Feb. 17, 2023. The agreements promote collaboration between ERDC and the schools. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Photo by Jared Eastman)

“We really need the schools to keep doing what they’re doing,” ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman said to the VCS and PCA representatives who visited ERDC on Feb. 17, 2023. “ERDC is in a great community with great schools and great people – thank you all for doing incredible work.”

Pittman also discussed the nationwide need for more scientists and engineers, encouraging school leadership to continue offering STEM opportunities to their students.

“Our researchers get their start with you – you train them first,” Pittman said. “That strong foundation you give them in elementary and high school is so important to the people they become. You give them the first tools they need to help make our world safer and better.”

One goal of the partnerships is to encourage and enhance training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which includes relating academic skills to realistic applications for both students and staff. The agreement also allows ERDC personnel to be more involved with the schools through time spent in the classroom, providing career/academic advice, involving faculty and students in research projects, transferring surplus equipment and more.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with this worldwide, premier research and development institution that truly impacts every aspect of our planet,” said Dr. Virgil “Buddy” Strickland, principal of VCS. “We are extremely grateful for what ERDC brings to our students.”

“I think it’s great that both schools are here together because, after all, we are one community,” said Christopher Williams, principal of PCA. “I thank ERDC so much for being willing and wanting to invest in both of these schools.”

ERDC has signed 70 agreements with colleges and universities and eight agreements with K-12 institutions, including an agreement signed in 2015 with the Vicksburg-Warren School District.