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SSC Pacific STEM Professionals Inspire The Next Generation
by U.S. Navy Ashley Nekoui - November 14, 2014

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SAN DIEGO - Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) scientists and engineers participated in the San Diego Science Alliance (SDSA) 2014 High Tech Fair Oct. 21-22, 2014, presenting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) demonstrations to middle and high school students attending the event.

More than 4,000 children attended the two-day event focused on inspiring students to pursue futures in STEM.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) scientists and engineers participated in the San Diego Science Alliance 2014 High Tech Fair, Oct. 22, 2014, in San Diego. SSC Pacific hosted a booth with several interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities. The SSC Pacific scientists and engineers answered students' questions and provided real-world experiences to help excite the middle and high school students to explore STEM majors and careers. (U.S. Navy photo by Ashley Nekoui)
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) scientists and engineers participated in the San Diego Science Alliance 2014 High Tech Fair, Oct. 22, 2014, in San Diego. SSC Pacific hosted a booth with several interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities. The SSC Pacific scientists and engineers answered students' questions and provided real-world experiences to help excite the middle and high school students to explore STEM majors and careers. (U.S. Navy photo by Ashley Nekoui)

“I've always been interested in marine biology,” said Halee Scott, a junior at Grossmont High School. “I was looking forward to attending this event to learn more about this field and other potential career paths. I was really interested in the technology that SSC Pacific was sharing, as it is focused on nature.”

The technology that sparked Scott's interest is the Sediment Ecotoxicity Assessment Ring (SEA Ring), one of the STEM technologies SSC Pacific brought to the fair. The SEA Ring aids the Navy in monitoring the environment by assessing sediment and surface water quality. The device exposes common test organisms to contaminants in various environmental compartments while continuously collecting chemical and physical data from each compartment.

“We wanted to share SEA Ring with the students, as it's one of the tools that we use in the field,” said Renee Dolecal, a marine ecologist at SSC Pacific. “I think it's really important that we provide real-world examples so that students have a better understanding of the opportunities that await them if they choose to pursue a STEM career.

"We highlight the collaborative efforts that take place between ecologists and engineers and also explain that, while we do spend time in the lab, we're constantly going out and putting our devices into action.”

SSC Pacific's additional STEM demonstration attracted students with a sweet confection ? marshmallows. The “white clouds” added an extra element of fun when participants placed the edible objects in bell jars, so they could identify the effect of air pressure on the object and the holding power of a suction cup. The demonstration's primary principle was that air has mass.

"SSC Pacific is committed to adding richness to our community schools here in San Diego with the intent that this commitment will eventually percolate throughout the 100,000 Department of Defense STEM professionals across the country," said SSC Pacific Executive Director Carmela Keeney.

The laboratory's efforts support President Barack Obama's Education to Innovate campaign, focused on creating an all-hands-on-deck approach to STEM to provide students at every level with the skills they need to excel in STEM fields.

By U.S. Navy Ashley Nekoui
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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