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    Science Success Stories: Naval STEM Highlights Student-Outreach Efforts in 2022

    Remarkable Robotics: ROVs Shine in ONR-Sponsored International SeaPerch Challenge

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    Story by Warren Duffie 

    Office of Naval Research

    For Immediate Release: Feb. 3, 2023

    By Warren Duffie Jr., Office of Naval Research

    Last year was busy for the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) Naval STEM Coordination Office. Located at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in northern Virginia, the team worked hard to expand its program offerings for all levels of students — from elementary to graduate school.

    These activities included an international robotics competition; a four-week internship focusing on orthopedic surgery; and an online essay contest aimed at introducing students to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) topics impacting the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

    “Naval STEM aims to inspire, cultivate and develop exceptional talent by providing a continuum of opportunities for students,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby. “This empowers them to apply their academic knowledge in a real-world context through internships and summer programs, conducted both virtually and at naval facilities.”

    The DoN Naval STEM Coordination Office oversees investments in education, outreach and workforce initiatives. This enables the U.S. to cultivate the technical workforce needed to keep the Navy and Marine Corps on the leading edge of scientific and technological innovation.

    “Naval STEM professionals at DoN laboratories and warfare centers provide unique STEM experiences to students and educators to supplement the knowledge, skills and abilities developed in the classroom and school setting,” said Sandy Landsberg, who is both the Naval STEM Coordination Office executive and a division director in ONR’s Command, Control, Computing, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (C5ISRT) Department.

    “The chance for students to put what they learn into practice benefits both them and the DoN,” Landsberg continued. “This application of their knowledge could potentially result in solutions to real-world, naval challenges.”

    Highlights from this year’s Naval STEM initiatives included:

    1. Participation in the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space STEM Exposition on April 3. Naval STEM hosted 11 booths with hands-on STEM activities geared toward students in grades five through 12. Learn more at

    2. The annual Naval Horizons student essay contest was held from Oct. 3-Nov. 28. This initiative is designed to introduce high school and college students to cutting-edge topics impacting the Navy and Marine Corps. It does so through engaging online videos covering more than 30 research areas — including autonomy, oceanography, data science and aerospace optometry. In each video, diverse naval scientists and engineers discuss their work to increase student awareness of naval science and technology challenges.

    Contest participants watched the videos and then submitted a short essay explaining how they were inspired by naval research and the naval workforce. Broad participation resulted in more than 32,000 video views and 714 students selected as winners of $200 cash prizes. Learn more at

    3. In April, the DoN participated in the 2022 National Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. JSHS is a Department of Defense (DoD) Tri-Service program encouraging high school students to conduct research. During the National JSHS, the student finalists came together to compete in oral and poster competitions judged by DoD STEM professionals. Learn more at

    4. On June 4, the International SeaPerch Challenge convened at the University of Maryland. The ONR-sponsored competition hosted over 130 teams of elementary, middle and high school students from around the world to showcase underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

    SeaPerch is a program that gives students the opportunity to build ROVs from kits while following a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme. Learn more at

    5. In August, the 25th Annual RoboSub competition, co-sponsored by ONR, occurred at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.

    RoboSub is an international robotics competition where student teams design, build, test and operate their own robotic submarines — autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) — in challenging aquatic environments. Learn more at,

    6. ONR's Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) and Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP). NREIP is a 10-week undergraduate and graduate research internship opportunity at one of nearly 30 naval laboratories or warfare centers. SEAP is an eight-week high school apprenticeship opportunity at one of nearly 25 naval laboratories or warfare centers. In 2022, SEAP hosted 281 students and NREIP hosted 481 students.

    7. NREIP-SEAP virtual discussion with famed explorer Dr. Robert Ballard. Ballard is ONR’s longest-serving performer and best known for the discovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic. Ballard shared the story of his five-decade relationship with ONR and his experiences in ocean exploration. View the discussion at

    8. NRIEP Fall Engagement. This was a short-term virtual internship designed to introduce college students to cutting-edge naval science and technology research. The internship also connected students with DoN scientists and engineers as mentors. In 2022, Naval STEM created opportunities for 171 students across 13 Navy laboratories and warfare centers.

    9. National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Conference. Held July 24-28. The DoD NDSEG Fellowship Program promotes science and engineering education by awarding fellowships to encourage promising U.S. scientists to pursue doctoral degrees in STEM research disciplines. Representatives from ONR, the Naval Research Laboratory, Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific and Naval Air Systems Command also shared information about employment opportunities. Learn more at

    10. Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) Flight Academy. The Flight Academy is an eight-week summer program for students affiliated with Navy and Marine Corps JROTC. Students had the opportunity to attend ground school, participate in flight training, earn college credits and achieve a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot's license (PPL). In 2022, 20 students were selected to participate, of which 65% represented underserved and underrepresented groups. Ultimately, 16 students navigated their first solo flight, earned college credits, passed the FAA written exam and 13 achieved their PPL. Learn more at

    11. The Naval STEM Coordination Office sponsored a new four-week internship to increase diversity in naval medicine: the Orthopedic Surgery Internship. Managed by the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, this program invited first- and second-year civilian medical students from underrepresented backgrounds to consider careers in orthopedic medicine. The internship was hosted at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Learn more at

    12. Naval STEM celebrated Ms. Libby Hite of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as the DoD STEM Advocate of the Quarter (SAQ) awardee. The DoD SAQ award recognizes exceptional individuals who go above and beyond their expected roles and responsibilities to bring STEM into the community through active engagement. To learn more about the DoN awardees, visit:

    13. The Naval STEM Strategic Plan was released. The plan outlines the mission and vision for Naval STEM and identifies the goals and objectives for the next five years. This plan will guide Naval STEM education and outreach opportunities to inspire curiosity and shape a generation of talent prepared for future global challenges. Read the plan at



    Date Taken: 02.03.2023
    Date Posted: 02.03.2023 15:44
    Story ID: 437803
    Location: ARLINGTON, VA, US

    Web Views: 195
    Downloads: 0