“Our goal isn’t to convince students to come to the Naval Academy, our goal is to expose students to the awesomeness of STEM,” said MIDN 2/C Zachary Dannelly to a group of middle school students at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month.
Dannelly and seven other midshipmen - MIDN 2/C Rachel Busiek, Max Goldwasser, Peter Guo, Megan Hough, Hunter Lampp, Luke Riewestahl, and Rylan Tuohy - traveled to Dallas to work with 125 students from Greiner Middle School and Balch Springs Middle School in areas of cyber, cryptography, fluids, and hydraulics.
The midshipmen represented the U.S. Naval Academy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Center.
Naval Academy graduate John Young (USNA '78), president and CEO of a Dallas-based energy company also spoke to the participating students. Emphasizing the importance of STEM, Young talked about his time at the Academy, his military career, and how his studies in STEM topics prepared him for the future.
The USNA STEM Center is focused on addressing an urgent national need for more young people to pursue careers in STEM fields. USNA faculty, like Professors Rachel Hetlyn and Jennifer Da Rosa, and midshipmen provide STEM outreach to local and national communities in an attempt to engage and influence students and teachers. Through events like these, midshipmen learn outside the classroom.
“The challenge is how to teach complex ideas on a basic level,” said Dannelly. “By overcoming that challenge and working with the students, we learn too.”