USA: Naval Station Newport Hosts STEM Summer Camp

Naval Station Newport Hosts STEM Summer Camp

Naval Station Newport hosted 29 high school juniors and seniors, July 9 – 13, for a five-day Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) camp codenamed, Starbase Poseidon.

The Office of Naval Research funded pilot program for Newport was hosted by the Naval War College, Naval Academy Preparatory School and Naval Station Newport.

The program included intensive curriculum in physics, chemistry, mathematics and English, along with Navy-focused field trips to the USS Constitution in Boston, Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) for a simulator tour, Naval War College and a day-long visit to Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn.

The students were offered counseling on college admission preparation and exposure to Navy education programs.

The submarine base tour included visits to their museum with tours of the USS Nautilus; a hands-on class on electrolysis (how submarines extract oxygen from water while underway); and lunch at the galley, followed by a visit to the Submarine School and a tour aboard the USS San Juan (SSN 751).

“I think visiting the Naval War College war gaming department and the Surface Warfare Officers school simulators to see how they virtually model each other and work the tactics was a highlight of the camp,” said Oge Onye, of Providence, R.I., a camp counselor who is entering her junior year as an environmental science major at St. Johns University, Queens, NY.

“Seeing how you can use technology and engineering in the Navy was another highlight of the camp,” she said.

“I think that the camp’s academic program has been above average because some of the classes in particular – the electromagnetic area of the physics classes and the demonstrations – were not anything we could have done in my high school,” Onye said.

“We worked with 75,000 volts of electricity and that’s not something we do in high school. The classes in particular exposed me to stuff that I will be taking in the future, and made me even more inclined to want to pursue later on,” she said.

Other students had similar feedback. Some of the 29 students had military connections and aspirations for future careers in the military – whether Navy or another branch.

Daniel Reynolds, a senior at Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth, R.I., is interested in pursuing a career in aeronautical or aerospace engineering, and is an applicant to the U.S. Naval Academy and for an NROTC scholarship. His father, Col. John Reynolds, is an instructor at the Naval War College and is very proud that his son wants to serve his country.

“He tried to push me to West Point but I think he realizes that I’m more of a Navy or Air Force guy,” said Reynolds, with a smile.

“Some highlights for me have been the academics because they were designed and prepared to show the most about the STEM sciences so the students got a good feel for what a STEM career could be like,” Reynolds said. “They have done a lot for me personally because it helped me to solidify my desire to pursue a STEM career.”

From the feedback received from Starship Poseidon participants, Newport organizers are viewing this first run STEM camp as a success and look forward to adjusting the schedules, fine-tuning the curriculum and hopefully having even more students participate next year.

One of the main objectives of the camp was to actually let the young men and women see different ways STEM careers contribute to the success of the Navy, and how STEM careers are so much more than just desk jobs.

The camp ended July 13 following a final presentation by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and an awards ceremony.

“It was incredible to see how the military live here. I learned so much this week that I didn’t even know before,” surmised camp participant Alicia Clark, of Providence.

Naval Today Staff, July 16, 2012; Image: US Navy