ARLINGTON, Va.—Taking a break from building robotic vehicles, the Sea Cadets gave their complete attention to their distinguished guest—Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby.
The Sea Cadets—members of a maritime-based program established by the Navy League of the United States to create a favorable image of the Navy on the part of American youth—were getting ready for a robotics competition they would hold at the next day’s Navy League STEM Expo.
The free Expo gave local students the opportunity to engage and be inspired by all things STEM—or science, technology, engineering and math.
During his visit, Selby discussed his childhood interest in science and the Navy, his military career, and the importance of the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) mission of providing warfighters with the best scientific and technological capabilities.
“The work ONR does is incredibly impactful,” Selby told the Sea Cadets. “We want to make sure our Sailors and Marines are never in a fair fight—that they always have the upper hand. Our mission is to get technology to our warfighters faster than our adversaries.
“To accomplish this, we need to maintain a strong workforce that’s agile and open to new possibilities,” he continued. “That’s why we need young people like you who are interested in STEM and can bring new ideas and energy.”
Selby’s visit with the Sea Cadets was just one way ONR and the Department of the Navy (DoN) were visible at this year’s STEM Expo, held earlier this month at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The visit also highlighted Selby’s role as the Naval STEM executive.
Hosted by the Navy League STEM Institute, the Expo was geared toward students in grades five through 12. Along with offering attendees lots of hands-on activities, the event provided middle and high school students with an introduction to naval STEM careers and educational opportunities.
Representatives from the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and naval-related industries shared their experiences and talked about STEM careers and the qualifications needed for various STEM jobs.
The DoN Naval STEM Coordination Office, located at ONR, had a booth where they discussed student opportunities, including internships, fellowships, scholarships and STEM competitions. These included Naval Horizons, a student essay contest designed to introduce high school and college students to cutting-edge topics impacting the Navy and Marine Corps.
At the Expo, the DoN hosted multiple booths highlighting various naval labs, commands and warfare centers. Among these was the Naval Air Warfare Aircraft Division, which brought its Mobile Digital Fabrication Laboratory, called FabLab, specializing in 3D printing, laser cutting and other capabilities. Other exhibits included hands-on demonstrations in hydraulics, robotics, flight and more.
“Naval STEM presence at the Expo allows students, parents and educators to learn more about naval STEM opportunities through interactive demonstrations,” said Sandy Landsberg, who is both the Naval STEM Coordination Office executive and a division director in ONR’s Information, Cyber and Spectrum Superiority Department. “Showcasing our people’s talents at a large event like this allows us to connect with a broader audience in a personal way, especially when that audience has maritime interests.”
The Navy League of the United States is an educational and advocacy organization supporting U.S. sea services: the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. The STEM Expo helped kick off the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exposition, held April. 4-6, which is the largest maritime expo in the United States.
Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.