For Immediate Release: July 11, 2011
By Katherine H. Crawford, Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON, Va.—Gulf Coast-area science and math teachers are learning new lessons and recharging their professional enthusiasm at Office of Naval Research (ONR)-funded five-day summer camps that wrap up July 15.
Organized by the Naval Research Laboratory Stennis Space Center detachment (NRL-SSC) in conjunction with the ASM Materials Education Foundation, the program trains middle and high school teachers in physics and materials science, electronic engineering, chemistry and polymer science.
“In the [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] camp, we were able to practice what we learned,” said Suzanne Ishee, a middle school teacher at Pass Christian Middle School in Pass Christian, Miss., who attended the first camp. “I will be able to answer students’ questions much more effectively because of this.”
The Navy’s goals for the program are threefold: inspire teachers, and thereby students, and encourage their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related fields; raise ONR and NRL’s profiles with Gulf Coast-area residents; and inform them about the cutting-edge work being done at NRL-SSC.
Long term, the objective is to grow and sustain the current naval STEM workforce, which will lose a multitude of workers to retirement in the coming years.
“Teachers are the key to promoting STEM education,” said Dr. Joe Calantoni, research physicist, National Defense Education Program site coordinator and section head for NRL-SSC. If teachers aren’t excited, well-informed and educated enough to bring STEM content to the classroom, we are not going to be able to reach the kids we need to revitalize our technical workforce for the future of the Department of Defense and our country.”
The first camp began June 13 in Kiln, Miss., near Stennis Space Center. The second camp kicked off June 27 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the third opens July 11 in Hattiesburg, Miss. Each camp comprises 16-20 teachers, focuses on hands-on lessons and how to implement them in the classroom.
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, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.