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Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Department of the Navy (DoN) Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), Education and Workforce Program, administered by the Office of Naval Research (ONR)

These abridged abstracts provide a summary of research grants funded in association with the annual FOA.

FOA #N00014-21-S-F004

Building a Modeling and Simulation STEM Educational Pathway Using a Sense-Making Framework (STEM SIMS)

Dr. Dan Dinsmore, University of North Florida
Dr. Yvonne Spinner, Duval County Public Schools

The objective of STEM SIMS is to establish, build, and then maintain a comprehensive STEM educational intervention for Modeling and Simulation using a sense-making approach. STEM SIMS includes three components:

  1. The modification of a State of Florida career academy course progression in Modeling and Simulation to include instruction in coding,
  2. Building a Simulation Design Lab for students to engage in learning and modeling using simulations, and
  3. Creating a Mobile Simulation Experience using a portable simulation system to facilitate its use and recruit secondary students to engage them in a simulation experience.

STEM SIMS will incorporate a sense-making framework to maximize learning outcomes relevant to the Navy and other military branches. Students will learn simulation and modeling, coding and design skills, and how to embed dynamic decision-making and communicative processes. The program will prepare graduates to be future operators in military careers. The participants will be adept at designing simulation and modeling training tools that include high-level problem-solving. STEM SIMS is also designed to be replicable for K-12 school districts around the country to embed into their course offerings.

Building a Workforce for Wave-Physics

Dr. Bradley Davis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Building a Workforce for Wave-Physics program educates students in wave-physics engineering and creates a workforce pipeline supporting critical naval applications including communication, radar, acoustic, and optical systems. Potential engineering students frequently have little prior exposure to wave-physics while non-traditional engineering students, often found in creative fields, may reject the discipline as uncreative or too difficult. Consequently, the Virginia Tech (VT) National Security Institute (Hume Center) and the VT Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology are creating a curriculum that reaches a diverse group of students using the familiar and captivating medium of music. Attracting and engaging traditional and non-traditional engineering students requires building bridges with activities that demonstrate the creativity and challenges involved. A music-based program promotes these ideas with relevant instruction and hands-on experimentation that is ideal for expanding interest in STEM and wave-physics engineering. Building from an intuitive framework, this approach allows students to explore the properties of waves (e.g. wavelength, speed), their interaction with the environment (e.g. reflection, diffraction) and their manipulation (signal processing). The program’s product will be a flexible curriculum coupled with an inexpensive hardware kit that can be widely distributed throughout the nation at a level suitable for secondary schools, college freshmen and for other post-graduates such as sailors. The program will include input from local secondary school teachers along with numerous Navy laboratories and will sustain its activity and advance the DOD’s interests by participating in a related university/industry/government consortium.

Creating a STEM Workforce Pipeline Education for Naval Coastal Infrastructure Resilience

Mr. Ali Ghahremaninezhad, University of Miami

In collaboration with Naval partners and community stakeholders, this project will provide training for students that will create a pipeline of coastal resilience scientists and engineers to support the Navy's mission-critical operations and improve US coastal resilience. This project will engage high school and college students from underrepresented groups in south Florida. This project will focus on Naval relevant topics related to coastal infrastructure resilience, including advanced materials, smart sensing and health monitoring, coastal land-air-sea interactions, and oceanography. The breadth of the proposed programs provides a comprehensive approach to the Navy's coastal infrastructure resilience. The educational programs will inspire, engage, and educate the students about the Navy's mission and encourage them to pursue a career in the Navy.

DID-NOW: Developing an Inclusive and Diverse Naval Oceanographic Workforce

Dr. Andrew Jessup, University of Washington

The Developing an Inclusive and Diverse Naval Oceanographic Workforce (DID-NOW) program is a comprehensive summer undergraduate internship program that will provide (1) project-based research experience, (2) mentoring and support outside the research activity, (3) community building and support opportunities through peer-to-peer relationships, and (4) tools and strategies to navigate the pathways to a Navy-relevant career. This broad-based strategy will go beyond the research experience itself by providing supplemental perspectives and resources to participants. Recruitment will target racial and ethnic minority students and military-connected students through community and Navy partnerships. Weekly meetings will include guest speakers in Navy-related jobs, tours of laboratories and facilities, and career counselors familiar with DON STEM pathways. The program will include community-building activities to enable the intern cohort to strengthen peer-to-peer relationships. All interns will be given the opportunity to participate in a one-day training cruise on the research vessel R/V Rachel Carson. The heart of the internship will be the pursuit of an independent research project under the guidance of a member of the research staff. Interns will present the results of their research at a lab-wide colloquium that will be advertised and open to the University of Washington community, Navy and outside partners, and local maritime industry.

ENGAGE: Education of the Next Generation of Navy through Grassroots Informal STEM Education

Ms. Emily Duguid, Orlando Science Center

Through the ENGAGE program, Orlando Science Center (OSC) will work to inspire, engage, and educate underrepresented youth (grades 6-12) from Central Florida’s most distressed communities, building meaningful relationships with students, staff, and partner organizations. The program will focus on Operational Endurance and Sense and Sense Making, key components for an individual’s efficiency and resiliency which can be developed and enhanced through self-efficacy, and Naval careers utilizing problem-based learning and the science capital teaching approach. OSC will work with Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) to provide context about the Naval experience. This support will give OSC the tools and resources to inform and engage students in learning about Naval topics through interactive and impactful STEM education. This collaborative initiative will ignite students’ passion for STEM, sparking interest in STEM topics and instilling confidence in the future leaders from Central Florida. ENGAGE will increase practical skills and knowledge as well as awareness of DON careers and opportunities, planting the seeds for increased diversity in the Naval STEM workforce.

Exploring Naval Underwater STEM (Exploring NUSTEM)

Dr. Jani Macari Pallis, University of Bridgeport

Exploring Naval Underwater STEM (Exploring NUSTEM) leverages existing collaborations of two universities from different coasts of the United States—the University of Bridgeport (UB) and the University of Southern California (USC)—, high schools, informal science centers, community programs, and Naval partners. The project provides research opportunities for high school (grades 9-12), undergraduate, and graduate students to plan, develop and implement underwater exploration projects related to submarine and unmanned underwater vehicles in the project’s Key Knowledge Areas (KKA) of Navy relevance: 1) submarine and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) operation and engineering, 2) human-technology interface, and 3) underwater communications. The project provides students with iterative learning opportunities to integrate fundamentals in KKA. In addition, the project offers a mobile mission control center incorporated into a STEM on Wheels mobile laboratory, and manned and unmanned vehicle operation and control, including the unique capabilities of UB’s one-person, 8-foot, 2,300-pound submarine named “Explorer.” Through informal science experiences designed to reinforce learning in KKA, secondary and post-secondary students will be able to participate year-round through classroom activities and capstone projects, workshops, summer academies, and after-school programs.

Future Uniform Technologies Utilizing Real-World Experiences (FUTURE)

Mr. Saul Behar, University City Science Center

STEM educational advances are more critical now than ever as the global pace of innovations has accelerated, and the STEM job market, especially within the Department of Navy, offers incredible future potential. Additionally, the gender and racial disparities in STEM fields are stark. Future Uniform Technologies Utilizing Real-World Experiences (FUTURE) will address these demand and disparity issues by developing a curriculum in which middle school students design solutions for the future while gaining crucial skills that are known to support interest and success in STEM. This project will be developed and run by the FirstHand program, a free out-of-school time STEM youth initiative of the University City Science Center. It will create a new educational experience for Philadelphia students who attend under resourced schools. The key objectives of the FUTURE project are to increase students’ STEM engagement and STEM career interests through a naval-relevant curriculum focused on e-textiles and wearable technologies. More specifically, students will learn to program sensors and embed them into various textiles. Students will then apply this knowledge to prototype their own wearable technology. The project aims to directly serve seventh and eighth grade students from some of Philadelphia’s most underserved public schools.

Interactive Education in Electronic Sensing, Communication and Warfare

Dr. David Ricketts, North Carolina State University

Electronic Warfare (EW) is becoming a leading field of engagement for the US military and an understanding of its technical basis and considerations are needed throughout the Navy. INTERACT is an innovative, experiential STEM program designed to provide US students, Naval personnel, and military-connected individuals with the technical background and skills needed for future conflicts where control and understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and systems is essential. INTERACT has three overarching goals. Establish a national network of universities and labs that are engaged in educating students in electronic sensing, communication, and warfare for DOD and Navy careers. Create and disseminate an innovative experiential learning curriculum and lab-at-home (or in the field) to allow hands-on, experimentally supported electronic sensing and warfare education anywhere in an in-person, virtual or hybrid form. Finally, to increase the breadth and diversity of the US talent pipeline in EW-related fields through collaborations, interactions, and internships with Navy and DOD research labs.

Navy Engineering Analytics Program (NEAP): Providing Engineering Students with Navy Expertise

Dr. Cameron MacKenzie, Iowa State University of Science and Technology

The U.S. Navy requires personnel with engineering and analytic capabilities. The Navy Engineering Analytics Program (NEAP) at Iowa State University will be an innovative education and training undergraduate program that will teach analytical skills in complex system design analysis, designing and evaluating human-computer interaction systems, crisis decision making with uncertainty and multiple objectives, modeling and forecasting an uncertain future, and data science and machine learning. NEAP will teach students how to apply this knowledge and these diverse set of tools to solve Navy problems. NEAP will provide this training through four integrated courses and by providing opportunities for students to pursue internships with the Navy, other military agencies, and defense contractors.

Using a Longstanding Ocean STEM High School Competition to Increase Diversity and Naval Relevance in Ocean Education

Ms. Kristen Yarincik, Consortium for Ocean Leadership

This pilot project will leverage two existing programs, the National Ocean Sciences Bowl®
(NOSB)—an annual ocean science academic competition managed by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership—and Scoutlier—an online education platform. The project goals are to increase 1)the visibility of U.S. Navy applications and opportunities in ocean science and technology and 2)the participation of underrepresented and military-connected students in ocean science education. The first goal will increase learning in Navy ocean science applications and opportunities for pilot project participants and existing NOSB audiences. The second goal will deliver current NOSB content, enhanced Navy-relevant content, and ocean related military/civilian career information to underrepresented and military-connected schools and students not currently participating in the NOSB. The goals will be accomplished by utilizing, and growing, the audience for Scoutlier, an educational platform. In addition to access to new ocean science and technology content through this platform, students will be directed to an ecosystem of opportunities to learn and engage with ocean-related research.

Wraparound Services for STEM Learning (WSSL)

Ms. Kris Mooney, Fleet Science Center

San Diego’s Fleet Science Center (FSC) has seen the proliferation of STEM programming over the last 20 years, not just in schools but in after-school and out-of-school time settings such as libraries, museums, recreation centers, military installations, corporations, and an array of organizations. The growth is promising; however, these efforts are in most cases disconnected from one another and are operating without measurable, targeted community goals. Wraparound Services for STEM Learning (WSSL) in National City, a neighborhood located very close to Naval Base San Diego, is a partnership between National School District, Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center, A Reason to Survive, Ocean Connectors, National City Public Library, Naval Base San Diego, FSC, and local parents and caregivers. It will integrate partner curriculum with teaching methods and curriculum from Naval Base San Diego consistent with State and District curriculum standards and ensure STEM learning and activities build on each other and leverage partnerships. Informed by learnings from collaborations in National City, WSSL will increase student, parent/caregiver, teacher, and community engagement in STEM learning connected to Department of Navy (DON) related subject areas through in-school education workshops, after-school STEM learning, parent workshops, family STEM activities, and STEM Professional Development for teachers.

FOA #N00014-20-S-F005

Building a Comprehensive Training Program for Developing and Sustaining the Ocean Acoustics Workforce

Dr. Jennifer Miksis-Olds, University of New Hampshire

Education in ocean acoustics, a national naval responsibility, is critical at all levels and necessitates programs that create a pipeline of personnel with the specialized acoustics training necessary to meet current and future national workforce needs. Education and training programs serving traditional students through formal university degrees and programs, and distance education and professional development opportunities will ensure the workforce remains adequately trained as new research and technology advance. The program is a three-component education infrastructure designed to improve ocean acoustics training at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in the Northeast region and the nation. It will comprehensively serve the entirety of those requiring training: (a) residential university students seeking formal degrees and graduate certificates, (b) non-residential students seeking formal degrees and graduate certificates, and (c) non-traditional students, in particular naval personnel, seeking professional development opportunities in ocean acoustics. In addition, targeted efforts to ensure a diverse and inclusive student population is achieved will be a focus for the programs. Investment in ocean acoustic education is the emphasis of the proposed effort. However, other UNH programs of naval interest, such as mechanical engineering, ocean engineering, ocean mapping, oceanography, and marine robotics, will also be advanced, which will impact naval workforce needs.

Educational Approaches and Curriculum to Engage and Educate a More Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce

Dr. Meredith Carroll and Dr. TJ O’Connor, Florida Institute of Technology

Cybersecurity is a critical STEM field for military and civilian operations. In the U.S., the cybersecurity workforce lacks diversity, with only 14% female and 9% African American representation. The proposed effort will utilize a multi-disciplinary approach and team to develop, implement and evaluate an exploratory pilot project: an introductory cybersecurity training course for upper-level high school and college students with impactful STEM educational experiences. The course will integrate instructional strategies shown efficacious for cybersecurity education and effective in targeting underrepresented minorities. The outcome of this effort will be educational approaches and a pilot-program curriculum for an introductory-level cybersecurity course, empirically validated to increase learning outcomes, learner engagement, self-efficacy, interest, and intent to pursue a career in cybersecurity for underrepresented minorities.

EMPOWER STEM: Electronic Materials to Power a Naval STEM Workforce

Dr. Erin Ratcliff, University of Arizona

The overall goal of the program is to create a robust pipeline of scientists and engineers into the naval technical workforce. A proven network model comprising Navy scientists/mentors and University of Arizona affiliates—undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and STEM coordinators and assessors—will collectively focus on the basic science and process engineering that underpins the development of new optoelectronic technologies. Through Navy partnerships, students will be trained to solve scientific and technological problems using a situated learning approach strategically aligned with multiple mentor-mentee relationships and industrial partnerships. Examples include opportunities for research and demonstration laboratory experiences that train students how to formulate “inks” of emerging technology materials, roll-coat prototype device platforms, and characterize optoelectronics devices, all in collaboration with “guide on the side” Department of the Navy (DON)/industry mentors. All events will culminate in the University of Arizona-hosted Summit on Printable Power Sources for Operational Naval Endurance, which will feature plenary talks from the DON to invited academic and industrial partners in printable optoelectronics. Collectively, the new DON engagement model will uniquely enhance the training of students and facilitate pipeline relationships that enhance the awareness of the increasingly diverse students in the possibilities of Department of Defense career opportunities in technology, basic or applied sciences.

Enhancing STEM Educational Experience in Marine Science and Technology with a Novel At-Sea Program

Dr. William Gilly, Leland Stanford Junior University

The STEM Experiential Approach to Critical Ocean and Atmosphere Science Topics (SEACOAST) Program will be developed through a partnership between the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) and Western Flyer Foundation. SEACOAST, which targets secondary and post-secondary students, uses the modernized Western Flyer—a historic vessel, as an at-sea platform based in Monterey, CA; and will implement experiential learning programs aligned with naval priorities in maritime research, provide professional development for teachers and informal science educators, and promote community engagement with naval scientists and active duty personnel. SEACOAST operations on the Western Flyer will involve both short-duration (1-day at-sea) programs designed to explore a specific ocean science topic, as well as project-based activities involving several at-sea days with participants developing original hypotheses and approaches. The Western Flyer will be equipped with research-grade instrumentation, and both types of learning experiences will facilitate engaging with this technology as part of understanding the scientific process. NPS-led instruction and mentorship will facilitate in-person contact with students and highlight naval career pathways to a diverse community.

Equity-Forward Workforce Development Pipeline for Naval STEM Superiority

Dr. Daniel H. McIntosh, University of Missouri – Kansas City

The program aims to help faculty expand their capacity to provide students from diverse backgrounds with meaningful research and workforce experiences aligned with Navy STEM priorities. This aim will be accomplished by developing four competency-based Research Skills Training (RST) courses and internships in cybersecurity, unmanned aerial systems, RF simulations, and remote sensing at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC). The pipeline linchpin will be a common RST framework to provide students hands-on technical and career workforce preparation. The pipeline will benefit STEM-interested students with (a) 15 weeks of data analytics and technical skills training in a Naval STEM area, (b) faculty mentored research experiences, (c) internship programming through UMKC Career Services, and (d) exposure to Naval STEM opportunities and careers. The RST framework benefits STEM faculty with an effective student training and intern vetting system implemented in the STEM curriculum to achieve enduring sustainability. The program will broaden participation through inclusive recruitment, RST tuition scholarships, and paid research internships to boost recruitment, persistence, and career aspirations of underrepresented STEM students. The program outcome will be increased numbers of applications to Naval lab/industry internships and careers and a scalable, equity-minded pathway for sustainably cultivating a diverse, world-class STEM workforce.

Fostering Naval STEM Workforce through Hands-On and Autonomous Robotics Education and Competitions

Tarek Shraibati, Robotics Education and Competition Foundation

The preparedness of young Americans for STEM military careers is of concern. Like much of the technology industry, the Department of Defense is struggling to increase technological capabilities due to the lack of general STEM literacy and 21st Century skills, such as leadership and decision-making skills, amongst its workforce. The project will promote familiarity with military and civilian technical career opportunities that align with naval workforce needs by creating career alignment with current VEX STEM Labs. A guiding principle behind the project is that one-time events such as camps or after-school programs are insufficient in creating long-term impact on student interest. The project aims to create a STEM ecosystem that develops, fosters, and sustains student interest in STEM and STEM careers. The Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation utilizes the VEX Robotics platform. Past evaluations of VEX programming have shown that exposure to STEM subject areas before college drastically increases the number of students entering STEM fields. Both students and teachers will be evaluated to measure gains in STEM confidence and interest.

GoSense: A Hands-On Introduction to Sense & Sense-Making

Lindsey Groark, RoboNation, Inc.

The program aims to address the need for flexible STEM programming to support educators, students, and parents. GoSense is a series of build-it-yourself environmental sensor kits designed for construction and use in real-world projects. By building, deploying, and analyzing data from these sensor kits, students will be introduced to the naval science and technology priorities of sense and sense-making and explore the world of sensors, big data, computer science, environmental sensing, and various engineering fields. GoSense kits are developed for deployment in various marine, air, and land environments. They will be enhanced by educational and program support resources, a virtual community, as well as a robust citizen science framework for use in pilot programs across the United States. Additionally, inclusive, annual stakeholder convenings will focus on identifying barriers and improving access to meaningful participation for underserved and underrepresented communities. Through the incorporation of physical sensing platforms, hands-on and virtual educational resources, and experiential learning opportunities, participants will garner a unique perspective that will open a variety of STEM pathways for continued learning and engagement.

Growing STEMS: Training the Next Generation of Engineers for the Naval Workforce

Dr. Michelle L. Pantoya, Texas Tech University

The Growing STEMS Partnership (GSP) goal is to recruit, educate, inspire, and train a diverse student population and assist their transition from academia into naval employment through project-relevant, experience-centered activities. The GSP formalizes ongoing collaborations between academic researchers and educators, and naval lab scientists; and focuses on engineering training with an emphasis on energetic materials education. The learning model includes student project-based education, research-centered student training, and student induction in the naval workforce through Department of the Navy (DON) internships. The program addresses a problem for engineering students that lack meaningful integration of math and science content into engineering design because real-world problems motivating the engineering design are often missing from the hard sciences. Within the GSP, the purpose motivating joint research elicits student interest, engagement, and a deeper understanding of STEM content. The GSP will build an educational pipeline into the DON Enterprise by establishing the real-world context, motivating the learning environment while also expanding student opportunities for training, mentoring, and transitioning into DON employment.

Improving STEM Pathways through Realistic Scenarios, Analysis & Design, and Hands-On Experience: A Pilot Curriculum for Hypersonic Systems

Dr. Thomas Corke, University of Notre Dame

Hypersonic technologies, especially the ability for powered and sustained hypersonic flight in the atmosphere, holds the promise for revolutionizing civil and military intercontinental transportation. Mission complexity requires a multidisciplinary approach with a system-of-systems perspective that bridges aerodynamics, propulsion, materials and structures, sensing and communication, flight control, as well as atmospheric science and cybersecurity. The technological breadth and fascination of hypersonic flight makes this an engaging topic for students at all levels. The program at the University of Notre Dame (ND) will create a STEM pathway based around hypersonic systems that will utilize state-of-the-art pedagogical techniques to motivate broad scientific pursuits. The effort will incorporate existing courses and hands-on laboratory experiences in the ND College of Engineering, and develop special topics courses that emphasize multidisciplinary hypersonic systems design. An emphasis will be placed on web-based dissemination of lecture material and laboratory experiences. Collaboration with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane and Navy Test Pilot School will expose ND students across engineering departments and Navy ROTC program to real-world challenges and engagement with Navy STEM professionals and their careers.

Locally Sourced: Developing College-to-Career Pathways for Engineering Technicians at Naval Base Ventura County.

Dr. Scarlet Relle, Moorpark College, California

The project provides concrete pathways to workforce opportunities for demographically diverse United States citizens interested in careers as engineering technicians—particularly for uniformed and civilian positions in and around Naval Base Ventura County. The project will use newly developed certificate programs in Electronics Engineering Technology and Mechatronics Engineering Technology to start students on a directed, three-semester path that will include opportunities for paid internships with the three warfare commands housed at Naval Base Ventura County and companies throughout the region. This path will lead qualified students to work at the base or base-related employers or to transfer to California State University, Channel Islands to complete a four-year degree. The project will also provide students with the 21st-century job skills necessary for workplace success. The proposed project extends into the local high school community to expand familiarity with STEM careers, including naval programs and careers. Naval Base Ventura County will benefit from a supply of qualified individuals who have deep ties to the region and will be able to perform component and systems level maintenance on defense systems, surveillance and reconnaissance sensors, and other electronic subsystems.

Navy Engineering Innovation and Leadership (NEIL) Training Program for Diverse STEM Peer Leadership

Dr. Razi Nalim, Indiana University

In partnership with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) will establish the Navy Engineering Innovation and Leadership (NEIL) program to develop engineering and computing student leaders to be adept at innovation in the Navy priority areas of operational endurance and of sensing and sense-making. With special attention to female and underrepresented students, IUPUI will expand a program to hire high-achieving undergraduates to assist in teaching challenging subjects using the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) approach and enhanced leadership coaching. NEIL scholars will be trained to work as peer leaders in engineering and computing courses or for specific student groups, mentored to perform laboratory research or gain industry experience, and engaged in diversity-outreach programs. The program will accelerate college completion for diverse engineering students while equipping them with the skills necessary for successful careers as Navy civilian scientists and engineers. Faculty will conduct research to identify best-practice methods for evaluating student preparedness for defense careers, STEM learning improvement, and leadership and innovation skill development.

Promoting DON STEM Careers via STEM Educational Activities

Dr. Edward Davis, University of Auburn

The program aims to leverage the values, motivations, and goals of diverse Generation Z students in Alabama to engage their interest in pursuing STEM careers relevant to the Navy. A science curriculum that emphasizes the importance of STEM in students’ communities and how a STEM career in the Navy can address critical societal challenges will be developed. Collaboration with high-school STEM teachers during development will ensure that educational activities are appropriate to their needs and constraints and increase the likelihood of adoption by other educators. The project team will favor low-cost hands-on and virtual activities to enhance adoption further and enable use in remote and non-traditional settings. These activities will highlight the role of STEM in solving naval challenges and the positive impacts of DON STEM careers on American and global society. In addition to classroom curricula, developed activities will be presented by active and retired DON personnel at area festivals and community events, further enhancing knowledge and interest in naval STEM pathways among students and their families.

FOA #N00014-19-S-F003

Inspiring Students to Pursue U.S. Navy STEM Careers through Experiential Learning

Dr. Brian Kish, Florida Institute of Technology

The overall goal of this program is to inspire, engage and educate K-12 and college students about Navy missions through diverse, experiential-learning programs. Faculty from flight test, aerospace, aviation, ocean engineering and project-based learning will craft outreach campaigns, laboratory courses and summer camps designed to break through modern students’ addiction to virtual experiences and devices. The selection of topics and instructors will be custom-tailored to encourage, promote and sustain naval science and technology efforts. The goal is to have students of all ages and backgrounds touch and operate real air, sea and space systems and to solve worthwhile engineering challenges. Students will actually fly in aircraft, ride on boats, operate satellite simulators, and build, test and break robotic systems. The team will monitor the effects of the innovative educational program initiatives by repeatedly interviewing students to measure their motivation to pursue further education in STEM and their interest in career paths relevant to the Navy.

Naval STEM Program at California State University Los Angeles

Dr. Mark Tufenkjian, California State University Los Angeles

This program aims to increase the pipeline of high-quality STEM graduates who enter the Navy’s Southern California workforce equipped with relevant naval knowledge and skills. The program focuses on providing underserved and underrepresented student populations (e.g., Hispanic minorities, women, military-connected students) at California State University Los Angeles access to STEM education opportunities and a pathway to naval STEM careers. The Navy benefits by improving the quality, quantity and diversification of its future workforce, in order to sustain its technological superiority across its missions. Repeated exposure to and engagement in organized naval-relevant activities throughout a student’s undergraduate education (freshmen through senior year) will inspire them to pursue STEM careers with the Navy upon graduation. Activities include a hands-on summer program for high school female students, a program to support California State University Los Angeles’ military-connected students, enhancements to California State University Los Angeles’ Autonomous Underwater Vehicle student organization, and a new curriculum in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science.

Problem-based Initiatives for Powerful Engagement and Learning In Naval Engineering and Science (PIPELINES)

Dr. Maria Teresa Napoli, University of California Santa Barbara

Problem-based Initiatives for Powerful Engagement and Learning In Naval Engineering and Science (PIPELINES) engages community college and undergraduate students who, working in teams embedded at Navy facilities, compete in designing innovative, effective solutions to Navy science and/or engineering problems. The expanded program includes an academic year component, in addition to the summer project, further reinforcing working ties between the University of California Santa Barbara and naval partners; this will enable research collaborations to extend beyond the summer months. The team-based structure and open-ended nature that characterizes PIPELINES projects supports students’ creative thinking, further developed by training in innovation and aligned with the Naval STEM Strategy.

Shaping Experiential Research for Veteran Education (SERVE)

Dr. Bruce LaMattina, University of Tennessee

The primary objective of Shaping Experiential Research for Veteran Education (SERVE) is to provide opportunities for our military veterans to gain research experience and to eventually earn graduate degrees in STEM fields to fill the Navy’s pipeline. Many veterans continue to have a desire to serve and protect the nation, while the Navy needs leaders with research experience. Likewise, research outcomes are improved by having veteran students bring “user experience” to Navy research projects. In this effort, the University of Tennessee, in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will (1) recruit veterans into undergraduate and graduate programs, (2) provide research training aligned with Navy research and development priorities, and (3) aid in workforce placement. The grant will provide undergraduate research experiences, graduate projects and student exchanges between the University of Tennessee, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the Navy. Enabling this effort are strong collaborations with the University of Tennessee’s Veteran Resource Center, Navy partners, national labs and defense contractors. Finally, a mentoring network will be developed that will promulgate through the entire program to increase graduation rates, improve research experiences and outcomes, and develop better leaders.

FOA #N00014-18-S-F003

Broadening Education in Naval Science & Technology with an Expanded Undergraduate Curriculum and Learning Community

Dr. James Buchholz, University of Iowa

A major expansion to our Naval Hydrodynamics certificate program is undertaken to produce a much broader Naval Science & Technology certificate with an added emphasis on autonomous naval systems.  To support students in the curricular program while increasing informal participation of a broader range of students, program development will integrate an extra-curricular learning community, anchored by a student organization focused on development of autonomous marine craft. Outreach activities will introduce Midwestern high school students to modern naval science & technology concepts and challenges, and build a brand for our program.  The project supports the 2018 National Defense Strategy by enhancing civilian workforce expertise, fostering the development of advanced autonomous systems, and promoting a culture of innovation and performance in our graduates through challenging experiential learning activities and the development of leadership skills.

Creating a Coastal Carolina Cyber Workforce Education and Awareness Pipeline for National Security (C4WEAPNS)

Dr. Stanton Greenawalt, Horry-Georgetown Technical College

In partnership with the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC)-Atlantic, Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) will establish a Security Operations Center (SOC) and Cybersecurity Forensics Lab for student hands-on development and mastery of the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required for positions in defense and industry. This enhanced lab environment will be augmented by new and expanded certificate and degree programs in Cybersecurity and Forensics. Curriculum will be harmonized with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework to prepare graduates to successfully evaluate risk tolerance and the complexities of cyber-attacks, work within teams, and set organizational priorities for risk management.

Low-power, miniaturized Radio Frequency components for wireless communications and sensing systems to engage a broad cross-section of students for Navy-relevant STEM careers

Dr. Anupama Kaul, University of North Texas

Historically, a hallmark of the U.S. Navy’s electronic warfare technical leadership has been well-rooted in Radio Frequency (RF) engineering. The North Texas- (NT-) Navy STEM Coalition (NSC) will enable a dynamic program aimed at engaging students in the STEM disciplines broadly, with a particular Naval focus on RF engineering and RF microelectromechanical system (MEMS) components for wireless communications and sensing systems. The NT-NSC proposes three educational tasks and one research task over the course of three years to provide a balanced experience for students in this program in order to integrate education, training and research. The four tasks will engage middle school, high school, Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (Navy-JROTC), community college, undergraduate and graduate students in the core foci of the program which are: curriculum development, mentoring and training activities, diversity initiatives, and sparking interest in research for students to pursue more advanced graduate degrees in the STEM fields.

Minor Certificate Program in Computational Naval Sciences to Enable NAVAL STEM Careers

Dr. Prashant Khare, University of Cincinnati

The overall goal of this program is to train the next generation STEM workforce to maintain U.S. Navy’s technological superiority across all its missions. This will be accomplished by identifying STEM needs in the context of computation-based science and technology careers in the U.S. Navy, and developing an exploratory self-sustaining computation-centric certificate program at two universities, University of Cincinnati and Old Dominion University. Specifically, we will address the ever-increasing demand of computational science enabled workforce in autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, and fluid & combustion sciences. A variety of Naval applications will be used as case-studies such that future Navy recruits will be exposed to, and become proficient in understanding and solving Navy-specific technical challenges using computational approaches.

Retooling Veterans with Service- and Combat-Connected Disabilities in Advanced Virtual Engineering

Dr. Mesbah Uddin, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

This program aims at providing graduate level education and training to veterans with disabilities in the areas of “advanced design and analysis using high performance computing” by augmenting the existing Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering graduate program at UNC Charlotte’s College of Engineering with two additional navy/defense-application oriented, project based applied coursework, and applied-research based dissertation/thesis work along the same line. The veteran participants in the program will be taught first the fundamental principles of computational design and analysis, and then they will be transitioned to the practical product design process. The curriculum is designed as such that the graduates from this program can easily adapt themselves into other career opportunities as information technology experts, data scientists, and computer programmers, which are among the critical areas of HQP need as identified in the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS). Though the program is tailored primarily towards retraining of veterans, the Naval application related coursework and research projects will be open to all U.S. nationals which will enable the Navy and DoD to have access to a larger pool of U.S. national talents trained in Virtual Engineering or in Engineering using Advanced High Performance Computing.

STEM Education Network for Sensor Research (SENSOR) Pilot

Dr. Mark Moldwin, University of Michigan

STEM Education Network for SensOr Research (SENSOR) is an innovative and new program at the University of Michigan that engages science and engineering undergraduates in a variety of research, educational, mentoring, and career exploration experiences focused on sensors and algorithm development. The SENSOR program includes (1) a summer engineering laboratory project for underrepresented Engineering students, (2) a 10-week summer research experience program working with sensors in a variety of contexts, including autonomous vehicles, robotics and space engineering and exploration, and (3) professional development opportunities including those around Navy-related STEM careers. In addition, SENSOR will develop a larger cohesive STEM education and training program engaging 11 universities as part of the NASA Michigan Space Grant Consortium to connect the broader regional sensor community.

Workforce Development Pipeline for Microgrid and Advanced Power Systems Careers

Dr. Nathan Johnson, Arizona State University

Eight training programs in microgrids and advanced power systems will create a pipeline of skilled personnel including Navy scientists, engineers, technicians, Veterans, and active-duty and their dependents. The breadth of programs begins to inspire and engage K-12 students, continues with advanced training in university/college institutions to educate and attract, and extends to on-the-job workforce initiatives to support employment, development, and retention. Over 1,200 people are expected to directly benefit from training, with more to benefit indirectly through a train-the-trainer program. Training will be delivered online, hands-on at the Arizona State University Microgrid and Grid Modernization Test Bed, and at Naval installations in the U.S. Southwest.