BY SARAH GLINSKI, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, NAVSUP WEAPON SYSTEMS SUPPORT
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Rear Adm. Paul J. Verrastro, commander, Naval Supply Systems Co mmand Weapon Systems Support talks with Philadelphia high school students about their career goals as they watch part of the underwater remotely-operated vehicle contest at Navy Pi Day on March 14. – Photos by Maddie Klebe, Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Weapon Systems Support (WSS) and Independence Seaport Museum teamed up for the second year in a row to connect Philadelphia high school students with opportunities in naval science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at their Navy Pi Day event on March 14.
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Left A representative from the Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics shows a Philadelphia high school student how to code computer programs through an interactive, light-up demonstration at Navy Pi Day on March 14.
Navy Pi Day, sponsored by the Navy Diversity Office and named after the mathematical constant “pi,” inspired over 150 educationally underserved students from Title 1 high schools to pursue and achieve their career goals in STEM.
“Thousands of civilians and officers make their livelihood working in STEM occupations. Success in today’s world is not only driven by what you know, but by what you can do with that knowledge,” said Commander, NAVSUP WSS Rear Adm. Paul J. Verrastro addressing student attendees. “That’s what STEM is all about. It is critical thinking, it is learning the ‘why,’ and it is taking that knowledge and then finding a practical application for it.”
The event featured interactive booths and displays from local colleges, universities and naval agencies, hands-on engineering challenges, and an underwater remotely-operated vehicle competition.
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Director Mr. Jimmy Smith of Integrated Nuclear Weapons Safety and Security, Navy Strategic Systems Programs (left) and Chief Executive Officer Mr. John Brady of Independence Seaport Museum (right) present Edwin Ramirez, the first place winner of the underwater remotely-operated vehicle contest, with certificates of appreciation.
Students could also participate in a panel discussion with civilian and military members of the naval STEM workforce as well as students currently enrolled in NAVSUP WSS’s Educating Acquisition, Global Logistics and Engineering (EAGLE) STEM program.
“You have plenty of opportunities around this room. A lot of folks are here to make sure you further your dreams. And you need to follow up,” said Jimmy Smith, director, Integrated Nuclear Weapons Safety and Security, Navy Strategic Systems Programs, who not only served as a panelist but also told the audience inspirational stories of how he followed and achieved his dreams as a recreational pilot and engineer with the Navy.
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Lt. Cmdr. Diana Dalphonse, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lead and Navy Pi Day coordinator, moderates the panel discussion between students and Navy STEM professionals.
“These are opportunities that other kids aren’t getting. You need to follow up and see your dreams through,” Smith continued. “We’re only here to help you. There is no extra commitment required; we just want to see you go further in STEM. Everyone is here today to make sure that you can go further; you just have to take us up on the opportunity.”
After enjoying special presentations from naval leaders and participating in the panel, students got the chance to demo For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Tech Challenge robots, build their own battery-operated pi chart robots, and create a testable air velocity apparatus.
Attending organizations included NAVSUP WSS, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, the U.S. Naval Academy, Navy Recruiting District – Philadelphia, the Naval History and Heritage Command, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University, Rowan University, the Community College of Philadelphia, ITT Technical Institute, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the University of the Sciences of Philadelphia, and the Urban Youth Racing School.
On November 3, 2014, NAVSUP WSS and Independence Seaport Museum announced a new partnership to guide high school students towards STEM-related 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. Navy Pi Day functions as an inspiration and awareness campaign in furtherance of the partnership’s goal.
For more information about the EAGLE program, visit www. facebook.com/eaglestem.