Wednesday, March 11, 2015

United States Navy Partners with Purdue University Minority Engineering Program

Carol Lynn Judge, Director Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach extends continued support to Minority Engineering Programs at Purdue University.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (NNS) -- The Navy's Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, states in his Sailing Directions to the fleet, "To maintain our warfighting edge, it is essential that our people be diverse in experience, background and ideas; personally and professionally ready; and proficient in the operation of their weapons and systems."

To maintain that diverse and ready force, it is essential for the Navy to partner with organizations, high schools, universities, and groups around the country to ensure that the next generation of potential future Sailors is receiving the education they will need in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and also diverse across racial, ethnic, class, and gender lines.

During the week of July 21 - 25, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Purdue University's Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Sailors and Midshipmen partnered with Purdue's Minorities in Engineering Summer Camp to do just that with a week of designing, building and testing of SeaPerch, ONR's innovative, underwater robotics program.

"This is the second year we have used SeaPerch at our camp and it is a phenomenal success," said Dr. Darryl Dickerson, the interim director of Purdue University's Minority Engineering Program. "The students love to be able to start from almost nothing and see it come together. SeaPerch takes them through the whole engineering design process."

"It is important for us to partner with programs like this," said Carolyn Judge, the STEM advisor for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) office of diversity and inclusion. "This is a good investment in the students future, which is a good investment in our nation's future."

Purdue's Minorities in Engineering camp provides the Navy a venue to further STEM education to a very diverse group of students.

"We want our Navy to reflect the country," said Judge. "In the Navy, diversity is more than race and gender. We want a diversity of ideas. This will ensure we are a more successful Navy fulfilling our peacetime and wartime responsibilities." 

ONR provides Purdue's camp with the SeaPerch kits necessary to build the robots, as well as Sailors from both ONR and Purdue's NROTC unit to mentor and guide the students through the building process.

"It is important to have the Navy here, so the students understand the real-world application of what they are learning," said Dickerson. 

The weeklong SeaPerch build provided the students a lot of different challenges and experiences that will benefit them in their potential future engineering careers.

"This week they had to work in teams, which is important in engineering," said Dickerson. "SeaPerch allows the students to work in a different medium than what they are used to, and it gives them a technical perspective and a level of appreciation for what it takes to make a vehicle. We want them to come out of this with the confidence to do this on a much larger scale."

Both Judge and Dickerson believe that the friendly competition aspect of SeaPerch is one of the things that make it so successful as a learning platform. 
"I am always in awe of the students and their enthusiasm," said Judge. "This week will hopefully make them aware of the STEM and educational opportunities that exist in the Navy as uniformed Sailors and as civilians."

According to Dickerson and Judge, the successful partnership between the Navy and Purdue University's Minority Engineering program will continue into the future.

"I am glad we have had this partnership," said Dickerson. "We will continue to grow the partnership so that more students get this experience."

Story Number: NNS140813-12Release Date: 8/13/2014 3:10:00 PM By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Joseph R. Wax, Navy Recruiting District, Michigan

*Originally Posted November 4th, 2014*

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