Science and Technology News

Saturday, July 31, 2010

NAVSEA Warfare Centers Scientist, Engineers Mentor Students

From Naval Surface Warfare Center Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Sea System Command (NAVSEA) warfare center scientists and engineers are hosting three STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) events July 26-30.

Naval Surface Warfare Centers, field activities of NAVSEA, participate and fund programs that encourage students of all ages to pursue careers and education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) technical fields.

"The outreach that the warfare centers are doing is critical to increasing K-12 student's interest in pursuing education in the STEM fields across the nation," said Stephen Mitchell, NSWC technical director.

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Division Indian Head (NSWC IHD) and Naval Air Warfare Center Patuxent River partnered in Leonardtown, Md. to host a week-long STEM summer camp. More than 70 elementary and middle school students participated in activities like building electronic alarm systems, solar-powered cars and water balloon cannons.

This week, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport in Newport, RI, also sponsored a Lego Robotics camp for 25 local middle school students where they worked in teams to build robots. The week concluded with the campers competing in a challenge with the robots they built.

Additionally, NSWC Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) teamed with Florida State University, Panama City, to lead a science camp for 20 high school juniors and seniors. Students gained experience in civil engineering by building and using cranes. The rest of their time was spent participating in the SeaPerch program where campers tested their basic skills in ship and submarine design and also explored naval architecture and marine and ocean engineering concepts.

"The expectation is that the teachers will become practitioners of inquiry-based learning and move students toward effective application of concepts in STEM," said NSWC PCD Scientist and Florida STEM Coordinator Ed Linsenmeyer.

The United States is facing a crisis in the area of science and engineering with fewer and fewer American children choosing to enter into STEM fields of study. NAVSEA warfare centers provide critical outreach to foster K-12 student's interest in the STEM fields though various efforts including in-classroom mentoring, camps, science fairs and career days.

"We have an in-school program and a lot of the students come to summer camp because they have a lot of fun during the school year," said NSWC IHD STEM Coordinator Thomas Palathra.

Little Flower School 7th grader Patrick Bouchard enjoyed the robotics team work challenges. "This is my second year [at the camp] and I would like to do it again next year," said Bouchard.

NAVSEA warfare centers are the Navy's principal research, development, test and evaluation, analysis and assessment activities for ship and submarine platform and machinery technology for surface combat systems, ordnance, mines, and strategic systems products and support. First established in 1992, eight NSWC divisions and two Naval Undersea Warfare Center divisions comprised of approximately 19,000 scientists, engineers, technician and support personnel provide full spectrum fleet support to the Navy and Marine Corps warfighters.

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