USNA Summer Programs Aim to Teach, Inspire Students
POSTED ON: Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:56 PM by Nava
Every year during the month of June, high school students from around the country descend on the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) to participate in one of three programs designed to provide them with an immersive experience into the lives of USNA midshipmen.
The Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS), Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and Summer Heroes Youth Program (SHYP) Programs feature activities that focus on USNA’s emphasis of academic, athletic and moral development.
“Summer Seminar is aimed at exposing them to academics, athletics and leadership aspects that midshipmen accomplish while at the Academy,” said Amy Halligan, assistant plans and programs coordinator.
NASS is a fast-paced, six-day crash course designed to give rising high school seniors a well-rounded introduction to the Naval Academy. It exposes the students to what life is like as a Naval Academy midshipman and helps them decide if they will pursue an appointment.
For rising 9th, 10th, and 11th graders who excel in STEM, USNA offers a program that introduces them to different topics and more specific areas of study through hands-on workshops led by Naval Academy faculty and midshipmen.
“This is a way to introduce youth from all over the country who are from different backgrounds to a STEM career,” said chemistry professor Sarah Durkin. “When they come to the academy, they not only get to participate in activities, but they also get to meet and talk with people who have chosen a career path in the STEM field.”
The Summer STEM program is held in three different sessions, with more than 600 students participating over a period of three weeks.
The pilot SHYP is part of the STEM center at the academy and is geared toward 7th and 8th graders from Baltimore city schools. Like STEM, it exposes students to science, technology, engineering and math, but it also adds literature and athletics to its curriculum.
“SHYP is geared toward the whole kid,” said Professor Angie Moran, director of the academy's STEM Office. “We have physical education and health, as well as literature and life skills to help go along with the STEM part of the program in hopes that students take it back with them and use the skills they learned here.”
Three Baltimore schools were chosen to participate in the first year of SHYP.
“The schools are picked based on the need to help motivate their students and help expose them to more opportunities," said Moran. "This is a way for us to give back to the community of Baltimore.”
All three programs provided a leadership opportunity for the 370 midshipmen that participated in facilitating the activities.
“I was very excited to take part in this new program and be able to work with young people to help them become interested in science as I am,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Tajhay Marshall, systems engineering major and SHYP instructor. “This is a great leadership opportunity for me and my fellow midshipmen, and I am happy to be part of the first year of this program.”
Moran sums up the programs’ value to these high schoolers who might otherwise not fully realize their full potential:
“The key word for these programs is opportunity,” she said. “These programs give people who are not exposed to what their potential is the awareness so they can live that dream. That is what I want these kids to take away. What I want the midshipmen to take away is that they have an incredible power to share those opportunities.”