NAVSUP WSS Opens STEM Workshop for Philadelphia Youth

BY SARAH GLINSKI, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, NAVSUP WEAPON SYSTEMS SUPPORT

Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) celebrated the opening of its Educating Acquisition, Global Logistics, and Engineering (EAGLE) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Program workshop with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Philadelphia on October 1.

Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) Rear Adm. Paul J. Verrastro (right) helps cut the commemorative EAGLE STEM Program workshop ribbon with two of the program’s students and the resident “demo” workshop robot. Anthony Simmons, NAVSUP WSS mentor, looks on in the background. Photo by Maddie Klebe, NAVSUP WSS.

Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) Rear Adm. Paul J. Verrastro (right) helps cut the commemorative EAGLE STEM Program workshop ribbon with two of
the program’s students and the resident “demo” workshop robot. Anthony Simmons, NAVSUP WSS mentor, looks on in the background. Photo by Maddie Klebe, NAVSUP WSS.

“The completion of this workshop is an important milestone for the NAVSUP WSS EAGLE Program. It’s a big step towards ensuring that our student participants get the skills they need to be successful in college,” said Rear Adm. Paul Verrastro, commander, NAVSUP WSS. “These high school students are already a step ahead of the game for participating in our program.”

The workshop – a first-of-its-kind for NAVSUP WSS – will be used by third- and fourth-year EAGLE high school students and their new NAVSUP WSS mentors to build competition-ready For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge robots.

By the time they enter the workshop, participating Philadelphia high school students will have learned fundamental STEM skills through the EAGLE Program that will enable them to build and program a robot from scratch.

EAGLE students’ first and second years of high school are spent at the Independence Seaport Museum, where they learn to build the Office of Naval Research’s underwater remotely-operated vehicle, SeaPerch, as well as functional wooden sailboats using mathematic principles like the Pythagorean Theorem.

“Our mentors will build on what the students already learned at the Independence Seaport Museum so they become proficient enough to build competition robots themselves,” said Lauren Newbert, lead NAVSUP WSS mentor and workshop designer. “Each week, we’ll be teaching them a different topic, from chassis to Java programming to wiring and electronics.”

In addition to guiding EAGLE students through the project’s challenges, NAVSUP WSS mentors will also guide them through the process of choosing and applying for college.

On November 3, 2014, Independence Seaport Museum and NAVSUP WSS announced a new partnership to guide high school students towards STEMrelated occupations through their EAGLE Program. The new alliance came in response to the high demand for STEM graduates and the low numbers of students pursuing or receiving STEM-related degrees in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation.

In March 2016, the Independence Seaport Museum and NAVSUP WSS plan to host their next Navy STEM event: Navy College Day, where EAGLE students and other local Philadelphia high school students can connect with STEM Navy employers and local college and university scholarship opportunities.

January/February 2016