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    Charting a Course for Public Health: Navy and Marine Corps Force Health Protection Command Volunteers Lead the Way at Portsmouth Middle School STEAM Expo

    Charting a Course for Public Health: Navy and Marine Corps Force Health Protection Command Volunteers Lead the Way at Portsmouth Middle School STEAM Expo

    Photo By Desmond Martin | At the Portsmouth Middle School STEAM EXPO, which took place March 26, 2024, Navy and...... read more read more



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    Navy and Marine Corps Force Health Protection Command

    Volunteers from the Navy and Marine Corps Force Health Protection Command (NMCFHPC) participated in the Portsmouth Public Schools Middle School STEAM EXPO, March 26, 2024, Portsmouth, Virginia.

    The event was in collaboration with the Middle School Parent and Family Engagement Liaisons to create an engaging, educational, and interactive experience, that shed light on STEAM disciplines: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Various local presenters were onsite including Tidewater Community College, The Children’s Museum, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia Collaborative, Horizons, and many more. Students engaged in hands-on STEAM activities and were provided with a box of produce and a bag of school supplies for engaging at multiple tables.

    NMCFHPC is at the forefront of public health support for Navy and Marine Corps readiness, offering vital services such as health surveillance, epidemiological analysis, disease prevention, and public health consultation.

    Annually, several NMCFHPC staff volunteer to serve on the STEM Team and actively participate in local schools, and career days, and serve as guest lecturers, spreading STEM awareness and knowledge. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Moreover, many partake in significant regional events across Hampton Roads, including the Oceana Air Show in Virginia Beach, Norfolk Fleet Fest in Norfolk Virginia, and the Langley Air Show STEM days in Hampton Virginia, impacting thousands of fifth graders at a time.

    “One of the main initiatives for our STEM program is to provide outreach to local and national communities, including those that are currently underserved, to influence and engage students and teachers in engineering and science studies,” said Revonna Sanders NMCFHPC Industrial Hygienist (IH) and NMCFHPC STEM Coordinator who provides student, educator, and volunteer outreach. “The hope is through STEM events the Navy will inspire a future diverse and talented workforce needed to carry out its mission.”

    As an IH Sanders explains she, and her navy counterparts, use their knowledge of science, engineering, technology, and math to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control physical, chemical, biological, or environmental hazards present in the workplace. “An IH also advises on how to minimize or control worker exposure to harmful conditions and hazardous materials,” she explained.

    Although NMCFHPC boasts a variety of scientists, their STEM Team comprises a diverse range of expertise, from Information Technology Specialists who bring robotics, computer programming activities, and ciphers to events to a Physician Epidemiologist, who provides opportunities to create models of chemical compounds, and Biologist who provides a hands-on acid-base reaction activity. They also provide information on health and nutrition.

    Every year the team has several volunteers who support other STEM activities including things like Drops on a Penny where students guess how many drops of water a penny can hold before the water spills over. According to Sanders, this activity teaches hypothesizing and the scientific method. They also provide other opportunities such as working with electrical circuits and sound level meters. The sound meters are especially exciting for students who attend the noisy air shows. The Team also provides education on public health occupations in hopes of inspiring the future of military public health.

    The team also provides STEM training for other groups as requested, and instruction for educators. “In 2022, we conducted a workshop for 22 Youth Center Staff,” said Sanders. “We Went over several STEM activities, materials, and how to do them and taught the material, to be used during summer camp STEM week.” In addition, the team has met with several new STEM coordinators from various Navy personnel and spoken to them on how to set up a STEM program at their command.

    Sanders expressed her hope that STEM events ignite a passion for learning, and encouragement to explore, create, innovate, and collaborate. “It is my hope participants leave with a little spark of curiosity and of course, I hope that they had a pleasant, enjoyable experience,” she said.

    This year the Team will be participating in the Portsmouth Public Schools Medical Health Expo being held in April, the Tidewater Integrated Combat Symposium at the Hampton Coliseum in May, and the Ocean Air Show scheduled for September.



    Date Taken: 03.08.2024
    Date Posted: 04.01.2024 09:17
    Story ID: 467465

    Web Views: 107
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