By Kate Hogarth, Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station Public Affairs
PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NAVSSES) hosted more than 30 girls from the Philadelphia area on Aug. 15 as part of a summer camp, where the students presented their projects, toured the test sites and learned about internship opportunities.
This is the third year NAVSSES has teamed up with Philadelphia University and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania for the two-week Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) camp sponsored by the National Defense Education Program.
Irene Katacinski, deputy of Small Business Programs, organized the camp with help from NAVSSES employees Morgan Watson, Cleao Henderson, Cara Mazzarini, Britney Gray and Brandy-Mickel Rambus.
"Volunteering for STEM programs is a great outlet for me. Between travel for work and being at my desk, it is a really refreshing experience to be able to see kids excited when it comes to STEM," said Henderson, from the Power Transmission Branch. "It takes me back to where I started with my passion and my love for engineering."
Rambus, with the Technology Deployment Branch and camp volunteer for the past two years said, "It is a great opportunity to expose young ladies to engineering, science and thought provoking innovation."
Gray, with the Technical Manuals Branch, visited the camp at the Philadelphia University campus to introduce the middle school-age girls to the SeaPerch Challenge. "My goal was to try to get them excited about the challenge," Gray said. "I think this is a great opportunity for girls this age to get exposed to engineering. I love to see the way they absorb everything and how quickly they take to things, it is really awesome."
This was the first time the camp was exposed to the SeaPerch Challenge. The girls were divided into teams of four and formed companies. According to the challenge, each company had to - build a self-powered underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV), compete their ROV against the other teams, present a poster to include company information and design, engineering and manufacturer processes and explain how they worked as a team.
While at NAVSSES, the campers explained their SeaPerch projects to a panel of NAVSSES judges. "I like to take things apart and put them back together to see how they work," camper Loren Smith said. "I loved SeaPerch, it was so much fun."
Fused into the camp's curriculum is an energy debate. The girls are divided into teams and given an energy resource to defend. "They get very passionate about their energy source," Rambus said. "It is good to see them get behind what they were talking about and see their different personalities come out. They get really spirited about it."
Mazzarini, with the Sustainment and Modernization Branch, spoke to the girls about going to college, opportunities for engineers and what it is like to work at NAVSSES.
"I was fortunate I had someone push me into engineering," Mazzarini said. "I try to give back by encouraging other people to consider engineering and kind of be that push for someone else."
During the closing ceremony, Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP) students spoke to the campers about Navy internship opportunities, their learning experiences at NAVSSES and encouraged the campers to apply to the program.
"As an engineer there are a lot of venues where you could use your degree and your engineering skills to have a positive impact on the world," Mazzarini said.
The Ship Systems Engineering Station, Philadelphia is a major component of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. It is the Navy's principal test and evaluation station and in-service engineering agent for all hull, mechanical and electrical ship systems and equipment and has the capability to test and engineer the full range of shipboard systems and equipment from full-scale propulsion systems to digital controls and electric power systems.