Candida Desjardins

Daily Point of Light # 4029 Jul 14, 2009

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (Newport Division) is solidifying America’s future by educating our young about the endless possibilities of having a career in engineering and science. Eliminating the gap between science and our youth is an imperative step in solidifying America’s future within the global economy.

With help from the Chief of Naval Operations, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division of Newport developed formal Mathematics and Science Educational Outreach Program. The mission of this program is to do the following: 1) increase student awareness of real-world science and engineering, 2) develop a pipeline of scientists and engineers for the future workforce, and 3) increase student and public awareness of Division Newport. But their main goal is to spark the interest of students in science and engineering solidifying a future career for them in the subjects of science and engineering. Statistics show that in Rhode Island alone only 3% of high school graduates choose engineering as a major.

What begins as simple experiments with sound, buoyancy and electromagnets can quickly turn into mentorships within the more complex subjects that use mathematics, chemistry and physics. Beginning with underprivileged students in middle school, the organization has become an integral step in all levels of education. This year, the Educational Outreach Program includes the following programs within partner school districts: Super Submarine Science (grades 2-5), After School Club (grades 4-5), Science and Engineering in Your Future (grades 6-8), Math Counts (grades 6-8), Real World: Division Newport Guest Lecturer Program (grades 9-12), Bring a Child to Work Day (ages 9-17), Bring a Future Engineer to Work (grades 9-12), Collegiate Engineer Tours (college students), FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) (grades 9-12), Sea Perch (K-12), and Undersea Technology Apprentice Program (grades 9-12).

Through this program, the award-winning Mathematics and Science Educational Outreach Program has reached over 4,000 students in the Rhode Island community in 2008. This success includes over 425 students during the annual Bring a Child to Work Day, 98 students during Bring a Future Engineer/Scientist Day; and 50 students during the Collegiate Tour. It also includes 72 Division Newport employees voluntarily judging about 1,100 student projects for eight regional Science Fair competitions. Such success has led to a RADM William Thompson Award for Excellence in Public Affairs in 2007 and in 2009 (for the second time in three years) recognition from the Navy Community Service of the Year Award in Personal Excellence Partnership (PEP). Recent external awards received by individual employees for their volunteer efforts include the John Chafee Humanitarian Award, the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Role Model of the Week, and the Daily Point of Light Award (Kevin O’Connor and Adam Macksoud). The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division’s Mathematics and Science Educational Outreach Program is surely solidifying America’s future, one child at a time.