Projects Day: Integral in Building Critical and Independent Leaders of Character


Projects Day is an annual event that began in May of 2000 and has developed in size and scope each succeeding year. West Point Projects Day 2019 brings together cadets from all 15 of USMA’s academic and military training departments as well as students from 18 visiting colleges and schools. During this day, cadets and students display intellectual capital through capstone design projects, competition projects, thesis defenses, poster displays, individual and group performances, and film screenings and presentations. Projects Day showcases the results of the in-depth learning that cadets experience while at West Point and through engagement with various organizations in the United States and around the world. It promotes USMA’s vision to “educate and inspire leaders of character who think critically, internalize their professional identity, and employ their education to help build the Army and the Nation’s future.” 

Projects Day enables cadets to engage real world problems and develop the critical thinking skills needed to solve these problems in a fast changing operational environment. Cadets, under the guidance of faculty members, develop their projects after having engaged in various Academic Individual Advanced Development opportunities (AIAD’s), research projects and other academic activities. Highlights of Projects Day include presentations in various languages to fellow cadets, faculty, clients/sponsors, and, in some instances, to a group of guest evaluators. 

Projects Day illustrates the diversity of challenges our cadets undertake. These projects represent the best of cadet intellect, creativity and tenacity. The 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, has leveraged this work to advance the Warfighter. The TRADOC Commander is applying the work done at USMA to the Army Warfighting Challenges which directly supports Army operations. Cadets also undertake various social projects such as providing support to local nonprofit organizations, engaging in cultural and socioeconomic problems, supporting efforts for clean water in various developing countries, improving the lives of our Soldiers, and contributing to general scientific knowledge.

The table below highlights topical scope that cadets are engaged in.

Image Projects Day Scope

The depth of research and the opportunity to engage with contemporary and critical problems would not be possible without USMA’s leadership, our world class faculty and, most importantly, our generous sponsors. West Point faculty and staff tirelessly guide and mentor cadets to new levels of accomplishment. "The passion for teaching and developing future leaders of character is evident in each of these capstone design and competition projects." (Jebb, 2017) Over 75 sponsors have enabled USMA to blend teaching with knowledge, theory, and application to topics relevant for our modern Army.
Project presentations will be held in various academic buildings throughout the post including Thayer Hall, Mahan Hall, Lincoln Hall, Washington Hall, Jefferson Hall, Bartlett Hall, Building 606 (Law), Kimsey Center and the West Point Club Ballroom. For the second consecutive year, a Projects Day App is available for smart phones, tablets and computers and creates a dynamic environment for all stakeholders to engage and collaborate. USMA staff, faculty, and cadets from all four graduate classes as well as our guests and visitors can use the app to view the Projects Day 2019 schedule in advance, search projects, build a personal schedule, view information about our sponsors, and most importantly, interact with our cadets and provide valuable feedback. Student presentations are identified in the program by time of day and affiliated department. Maps of West Point and of the central area buildings where the presentations are held are provided in the program. 
Cadets will be competing for the annual Scott R. Clark (USMA 1985) Innovation for Soldiers Award, presented to a cadet project that demonstrates an innovative approach to solving a problem of direct application to the soldier in the field. Additionally, cadets will be competing for the Walter W. Hollis Award that recognizes excellence in Operations Research or Systems Analysis. The US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Army Warfighting Challenges Award is presented to the USMA Cadets whose projects best demonstrate potential solutions to support the future Warfighter. The projects must directly support one or more of the twenty Army Warfighting Challenges ranging from Security Force Assistance to Maneuver Warfare. Each department has the opportunity to nominate multiple projects to compete for the award. Although students from the United States Military Academy comprise the largest group of presenters, students from visiting schools have become more active in the event during recent years. 

Welcome to all guests of Projects Day, especially judges, students, and faculty members from visiting schools. Welcome also to special guests of the Academy and the West Point Association of Graduates. Finally, thanks to all attendees for your significant contributions that support West Point and the Long Gray Line.