By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Bliss, Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate Public Affairs
LA PLATA, Md. (Dec. 18, 2008)—The Navy showcased exhibits by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to about 300 middle and high school students during the College of Southern Maryland's first Youth in Technology Summit held at the college's Leonardtown campus Dec. 16.
The summit brought scientists and engineers from various organizations and gave high school, college, and middle school students a chance to explore the fields of health care, science, technology, engineering and math as they consider future careers.
"It's important for us to attend these events to get the message out that there are military and civilian opportunities available to them," said Lt. Cmdr. Matt Bowman, deputy director of the Navy Diversity Outreach office. "We have a talent crisis in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. In order to keep a forward presence, we need a reliable source of talent to replace our retiring personnel."
The event focused on technologies used in aerospace, energetics, ordnance, and health care. It also stressed education and scholarship opportunities. The Navy provided displays and demonstrations ranging from a telemetry tracking van, post-flight debriefing system for pilots and a high-speed video playback technology used in crash simulation testing.
"The opportunities in the Navy are endless," said Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command and guest speaker. "We have an almost insatiable need to replenish our workforce. Half of our engineers and scientists will be retiring in the next five years."
"The students seem to be energized," said Capt. Neil Stubits, commander, Indian Head Division, Naval Sea Warfare Center. "It's important to get students interested in STEM fields."
NAVSEA scientists and engineers from three of the Naval Surface Warfare Centers-Dahlgren Laboratory, Indian Head Division and the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Division, provided demonstrations in electricity, magnetics, liquid nitrogen, robotics, ultrasonic inspection units, among others.
"Students learned first-hand how some of the coldest stuff in the universe can be used for navigation, magnetometers and precision clocks," said Frank Narducci, Ph.D., a physicist with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division.
Students not only learned about STEM and college opportunities, they learned about military careers as well.
"I've always wanted to serve my country, and this would give me the opportunity to pursue a career and protect our way of life", said Douglas McMaster, La Plata High School senior. "The summit helped me see the opportunities for college and service in the Navy."
Continued support for events like the youth summit held at the College of Southern Maryland helps further the Navy's goal of increasing the number of youth pursuing STEM educations. This support also contributes to an increased awareness of scholarship opportunities within the Navy and the myriad of job opportunities existent across the Navy Total Force.