Adam Macksoud

Daily Point of Light # 3920 Feb 11, 2009

For the past five years, Mr. Adam Macksoud, Deputy Department Head of the Autonomous and Defensive Systems Department of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, has not only been a strong supporter of the Division’s Educational Outreach efforts but also an active participant. He has taken a personal interest in many of its activities, has worked closely with Human Resources personnel and directed department resources in support of “Bring a Child to Work Day” and “Bring a Future Engineer to Work.” He supports local college hiring fairs by attending the events and answering questions from prospective employees and provides facility tours and presentations to visiting schoolchildren. One of the goals of the NUWC Division Newport Outreach Plan is to increase awareness of real-world science and engineering, and personnel like Mr. Macksoud are helping achieve that objective. In Rhode Island alone, only 3% of high school graduates choose engineering disciplines for their college career, which equates to only 300 of this year’s 10,000 graduating students who will receive engineering degrees. The Outreach Plan and its volunteers hope to directly influence the career path students choose and ultimately to increase the number of students who will pursue an engineering or science degree.

Perhaps Mr. Macksoud’s most significant contribution is his hands-on approach to engaging school children in the wonders of science and engineering. He is passionate about reaching out to youngsters and communicates his enthusiasm through his presentations to hundreds of elementary and middle school students. Working closely with Division Newport’s Educational Outreach Coordinator, Mr. Macksoud has developed numerous engaging presentations and exhibits, which include full-size and scale models of unmanned undersea vehicles, posters, overhead presentations and videos that feature submarines, autonomous undersea vehicles and torpedoes. While emphasizing the importance of these technologies to the U.S. Navy, Mr. Macksoud readily involves the students by personalizing his discussion. When he asked a group of students when they thought the newest version of PlayStation might appear and they answered “three or four years from now,” he pointed out that it was important to “realize that thousands of engineers are working on that right now.” He communicates the relevance of science and technology in “virtually all the products and mechanical devices used by today’s consumers.” The enthusiasm that characterizes the youngsters’ questions indicates that there may be a number of future scientists and engineers in the audience.

Most recently, Mr. Macksoud visited Edward R. Martin Middle School and St. Brendan Elementary School, both in East Providence RI; Friends Academy in Dartmouth, MA; and the University of Rhode Island Science and Technology Career Fair in Kingston, RI. More than 300 students in grades 7 and 8 at the Edward R. Martin Middle School were so enthralled with Mr. Macksoud’s support of their “Career Day,” that he was invited back and received a “Letter of Appreciation” from the Director of Guidance. During his visit, he presented a multimedia exhibit of slides and videos and showed models of unmanned undersea vehicles to over 30 elementary school children at Friends Academy, designed to inspire them, and to demonstrate how math and science can be fun and interesting. He was invited to return to Friends Academy and subsequently shared his presentation with over 60 middle school students, demonstrating portable unmanned vehicles, submarine videos, and provided engineering presentations geared toward careers in engineering.

In addition to his direct support of Division Newport’s Educational Outreach Program, Mr. Macksoud volunteers an extraordinary amount of time and energy in support of local nonprofit community organizations that benefit children. He has been a coach for the East Providence, RI, Central Little League (2003-2007), as well as a board member and fund raising chairman (2006-2007). In 2006 and 2007, he coached youth basketball at St. Martha Church in East Providence and was an active member of the Board of Management and Finance Committee of the Newman Branch of the YMCA in Seekonk, MA. He began a 2-year term as Board Chairman in 2007.

As a coach and as a father, Mr. Macksoud is a role model of the utmost integrity. As a volunteer in the Division’s educational outreach program, Mr. Macksoud demonstrates his commitment to reaching out to youngsters who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience the excitement and enthusiasm of engaging in science and engineering activities. The enclosed supporting material is further evidence of the positive influence of Mr. Macksoud’s personal initiative and dedication to community and education. He is an inspiration, as demonstrated in a letter from a tenth-grade student who was motivated to write when he read an article in the New Bedford Standard Times about Mr. Macksoud’s visit to Friends Academy.