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NASEC 2013

Posted on: November 12, 2013 08:00 EST by Sarah Durkin

The U.S. Naval Academy hosted the annual Naval Academy Science and Engineering Conference (NASEC), a four-day undergraduate conference beginning on November 3, 2013. This student-run conference brings together policy makers and science advisors together with university faculty and students to meet and discuss significant science and engineering issues and challenges. 

120 undergraduate students from 28 colleges and universities across the country came to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD to focus on three themes: Renewable Energy and Alternative Fuels, Cyber Space and Security, and Health and Sustainability. 30 STEM midshipmen participated as conference facilitators. 

The STEM Office hosted a Hands-on/Minds-on session on Monday evening for conference participants to engage in engineering competitions relating to the conference topics. Students teamed up to complete the design challenges, facilitated by 6 STEM midshipmen. Final designs were judged and awarded points on a number of criteria including quantitative measures such as distance traveled, and qualitative measures such as aesthetics and durability. 

Students enthusiastically designed, built, and tested balloon-powered boats, to demonstrate the use of sustainable alternative options to power vehicles. Following the theme of Cyber Security, students were challenged to create a 3D maze for a cyber bug-bot, and earned points by successfully designing a course for an unguided bug-bot to maneuver, thereby “de-bugging” the system. A third activity, focusing on the theme of Health and Sustainability, challenged students to design and build a machine, with only the materials provided, to simulate delivery of humanitarian assistance (represented by a ping pong ball) to an island nation. 

Participating students all enjoyed tackling the engineering challenges, which served to reinforce the themes of the conference.  

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