Press Release  


Naval Academy Midshipmen Deploy Experimental Buoys in Alaska

Posted on: March 06, 2013 08:00 EST

Press Release #: 016-13

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – While most college students will spend their spring break in the sun on warm exotic beaches, five midshipmen (students) from the Naval Academy Polar Science Program will travel to the northernmost town in the continental United States to research changing sea ice levels. These midshipmen will be in Barrow, Ala. from March 8 – 14 to perform research that will help increase understanding and predictions of weather and climate in the Arctic region.

The trip will give the midshipmen an opportunity to deploy two buoys they designed and built over the past two semesters as part of their senior capstone project. IceKid 2A (acoustic) and IceKid3T (temperature) are solar-powered buoys which measure ice movement using GPS, two cameras and a weather station that collects temperature, wind speed and humidity. The bottom of IceKid2A is also equipped with a hydrophone to collect sound data of ice movement. The unique data collected by the buoys will be used for future midshipmen projects and the greater science community.

Naval Academy Oceanography Instructor Lt. Cmdr. John Woods will lead the midshipmen during the field operation, in collaboration with the University of Delaware and the University of Washington. Midshipmen first class (seniors) Chuck Newnam of Milford, Pa.; Morgan Oblinsky of Virginia Beach, Va.; Dagmara Broniatowska of Warsaw, Poland; Toni Paruso of Savannah, Ga.; and Molly Solmonson of Anchorage, Ala., will travel to Barrow, Ala. to conduct the Naval Academy Ice Experiment (NAICEX).

“NAICEX will give midshipmen the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the Arctic environment they have studied for months,” said Woods. “As future naval officers, these midshipmen may operate in the Arctic one day, and the more understanding they have of this environment the better prepared they will be to face its challenges.”

Woods created the Naval Academy Polar Science Program (PSP) to enhance and expand its current curriculum in the quickly changing polar regions. The program is interdisciplinary, combing both engineering and science departments at the Naval Academy. The program includes two elective courses which provide an in-depth look at the physical environment in both Arctic and Antarctic regions, and also includes a broader global climate change course.

The NAICEX is funded by the Office of Naval Research Arctic and Global Prediction. The Naval Academy Midshipmen Research Office (also funded by the Office of Naval Research), the Naval Academy STEM Office, and the Naval Academy Foundation also provided critical support in allowing midshipmen to participate. 

Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy today is a prestigious four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service.  More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen. U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college.  Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects like small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons, leadership, ethics and military law.  Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a federally funded Bachelor of Science degree in a choice of 23 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps. 

For more information on NAICEX 2013, please visit the PSP Facebook page at , USNA website at, or the PSP blog at

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