Wednesday, June 24, 2015

USNA STEM Hosts Engineering Design Camp

By MC2 Nathan Wilkes

The Naval Academy's Summer Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program hosted an engineering design camp for rising high school juniors June 15 - 19 in Rickover Hall.

During the five-day STEM program and competition, the students discovered new engineering concepts, explored problem solving, and learned the basics of engineering design and functionality.

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

 USNA midshipmen and faculty provided hands-on experience and education in many mechanical engineering design activities including the hex-bug maze and the “extreme-mobile”.

“This week we’ve held two major design competitions pitting small teams against each other for an audience of parents and fellow students,” said Mark Murray, USNA professor of mechanical engineering.  “For the design competition we have two events, the hex-bug maze and the “extreme-mobile”, which is a mobile catapult system. There is also a competition for presentations and other students learning STEM-related topics in free choice modules.”

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

The USNA STEM Center is focused on addressing an urgent national need for more young people to pursue careers in STEM fields.

“It’s important, for high school students especially to get a feeling for what engineering is all about, to open up some avenues and choices that they may not have seen and spark their interest,” said Murray. “STEM is all about showing the students a vast array of opportunities and helping them to discover an interest in these areas.”

Hosting a myriad of programs throughout the year, STEM encourages young students to push the boundaries of their creativity and desire to make the world a better place.

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

“I really enjoy science and math, so this camp was a nice opportunity to learn and also see the opportunities at the Naval Academy,” said Richard Chen, a rising junior from New Orleans. “Doing these sorts of projects with friends always makes for a great time. You get a lot of ideas with this type of work, and even if they sometimes don’t work out, you still get a good laugh.”

During their time on the Yard, the STEM students were also given a tour of the Academy and learned about a few of the opportunities available to them if they decide to attend USNA.

“The Naval Academy is definitely a place that I’m interested in applying to in the future,” said Greg Exum, a rising junior from Los Angeles. “The fact that the education is free and you get the privilege of serving your country is something I am really interested in.”

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