By MC1(SW) David Wyscaver, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs
NEW YORK (NNS) -- Members of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) STEM Office provided an interactive exhibit on Pier 86 in Manhattan - home to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum - during Fleet Week New York to help educate and inform future generations on the importance of careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, May 22.
The Office of Navy Research implemented the STEM program six years ago to raise awareness on the importance of military and other DoD positions involving science and technology, such as cyber technology, cyber security, computer programming, mathematics, computer engineers, electrical engineers, and many more.
"Our program is driven to reach a broad base of ages and locations," said Angela Moran, director of STEM program. "A lot of kids don't know the DoD has hundreds of thousands of civilian opportunities in STEM careers, as well as serving in uniform to support technology.
"Members within the STEM program are a true asset to the Navy and its mission," said Sarah Durkin, professor of the practice for STEM. "We hope they see how the application of science, engineering and technology within the Navy and its importance to both society and community.
The STEM center acts as a resource available within the USNA to help introduce midshipmen to the rewarding aspects of existing STEM majors at the Academy, and to encourage retention of STEM majors by engaging them in their own studies, often through project-based learning as well as in educational outreach to others.
"It's exciting to see firsthand the benefits of midshipman growing leadership and confidence in STEM subjects," said Durkin. "They are able to evolve and grow in knowledge and apply applications to real-world experiences."
Members of the STEM center travel around the United States educating children within grades K-12 as well as teachers through seminars, conferences, workshops, school visits and camps on the importance of considering a scientific or engineering career, Moran said. Through their educational efforts, more than 18,000 children and 800 teachers are reached annually.
Not only does the program benefit today's youth, it also allows midshipmen a chance to lead in the classroom involvement in Center programs, which include learning how to design, set up, and execute experiments; field challenging questions; and develop an understanding of the underlying theory, all of which strengthens creative problem solving skills and the ability to respond to unanticipated situations.
The STEM Center provides programs that prepare midshipmen participants for intellectual challenges by creating opportunities for them to learn STEM theory and application, as well as by reinforcing lessons learned in the classroom.
Ideal candidates for the program should have an interest in the subjects of math or science, possess a willingness to learn, communicate effectively, as well as have solid teamwork and problem solving skills, said Moran.