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USNA Polar Science Program

Posted on: March 11, 2014 08:00 EDT by Sarah Durkin

During Spring Break in March 2014, midshipmen from the USNA Oceanography Department's Polar Science Program traveled to Barrow, Alaska for a science expedition. As part of the trip, the midshipmen spent a day engaging students in STEM activities at Barrow High School.

Four midshipmen facilitated STEM outreach at the high school, accompanied by Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, Chief Scientist at U.S. National/Naval Ice Center and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the USNA Oceanography Department, along with Dr. Ignatius Rigor, from the University of Washington Polar Science Center and Coordinator of the International Arctic Buoy Programme. 

The mids brought with them a variety of hands-on STEM activities to excite students about scientific discovery. The students had a chance to drive a SeaPerch underwater remote-operated vehicle (ROV) to learn about underwater exploration. They learned engineering principles as they designed their own buoys built from PVC pipes and frisbees. In addition, students explored the concept of buoyancy as they competed to create a neutrally buoyant object or designed a boat out of aluminum foil to hold the most weight.

The midshipmen are excellent role models for the high school students, influencing them to see STEM as an exciting area to pursue academically. Participating in STEM outreach is also fulfilling for the midshipmen. MIDN 1/C Jose Cordova, an Electrical Engineering major, described the impact of his experience:  "Visiting the Barrow High School and talking about science with kids that someday will become scientists or even maybe Naval Officers was a good motivation to continue working on this type of projects that help developing relationships with the community."

Teachers who attended the event were impressed with the midshipmen, and look forward to expanding the program both within and outside Barrow High School during future visits.

Event Photos

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