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Contact: Peter Vietti
Office of Naval Research

Nation's future STEM professionals gather at D.C. event

USA Science & Engineering Festival brings together young science enthusiasts for a weekend of discovery

Lt. Anthony Bigalbal, left, and Capt. Steven Briese from the Office of Naval Research Science and Technology Reserve unit demonstrate how to operate SeaPerch during the first-ever USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C. SeaPerch provides students with the opportunity to learn about robotics, engineering, science and mathematics while building an underwater remotely operated vehicle as part of a science and engineering curriculum.

ARLINGTON, Va.—Young science enthusiasts from around the country—including future naval researchers and scientists—are gathering in the nation's capital for a weekend of discovery at the USA Science & Engineering Festival on April 28-29.

The event brings a diverse student audience face-to-face with professional scientists from government, industry, academia and popular TV personalities to showcase the fun and excitement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is a festival partner and will have staff in Booth No. 3424 to speak to visitors about its various educational outreach programs. ONR's exhibit will feature two of its hands-on, project-based STEM activities—SeaPerch and Physics of Sail—to engage potential future scientists.

"This festival allows ONR to directly connect with parents and their young people who are curious or already excited about certain aspects of science and engineering," said Dr. Michael Kassner, ONR director of research. "These are the types of youth we want to interest in the many unique STEM-related naval careers, which rely heavily on imagining and developing new technologies, that can help Sailors and Marines carry out their missions."

Lt. Krista Moses, left, from the Office of Naval Research Science and Technology Reserve unit, and Isabel Cardenas-Navia, with the Navy's STEM2Stern program, assist children with their hand-built boats during the first-ever USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., Oct. 23-24, 2010. ONR's Physics of Sail program allows visitors to build their own sailboats from aluminum foil, Popsicle sticks and paper sails.

Visitors to ONR's booth can operate the SeaPerch underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV), which is a national STEM education program. Each ROV is built from a kit of low-cost, widely available parts with a curriculum that exposes youngsters to basic engineering and science concepts. Students build the ROVs together, developing STEM knowledge and teamwork skills.

The Physics of Sail project allows attendees to construct their own boats from aluminum foil, Popsicle sticks and paper sails and then race them across a pool to test construction and design.

The event runs Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m-6 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. It features exhibits, stage shows and a book fair. The objective, organizers say, is to make the event the country's most exciting, educational and entertaining science festival to inspire the interest of American youth in STEM.


About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 30 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and more than 900 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,065 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.