For Immediate Release: March 25, 2010
By John Castagna, ONR Corporate Strategic Communications
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy spend years sharpening their academic and leadership skills to prepare for duty. Now, the best and brightest of those midshipmen are advancing future naval research capabilities even before being commissioned and starting their first tour.
Midshipman 1st Class (senior) Matthew Porter of Virginia Beach, Va., for example, is researching ways to develop more energy-efficient and affordable power systems for use aboard Navy surface vessels. An electrical-engineering major, Porter is one of 10 Trident Scholars supported this year by a grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Department of the Navy’s science and technology provider.
"The Trident research project gave me a good opportunity to be challenged and further my knowledge in engineering,” Porter said. “The research grant from ONR allowed me to build upon the solid foundation in engineering provided by the Naval Academy. Lessons learned through the program will benefit me for the rest of my academic, professional and military career."
The prestigious Trident Scholar program provides exceptionally capable midshipmen in high academic standing the opportunity to engage in independent study and research in science and technology during their senior year at the Academy.
"Trident Scholars routinely produce results from their research that advance science in general and help to provide real solutions to contemporary military and civil problems,” said Dr. Carl Wick, associate director for Midshipmen Research at the academy. “The exceptional quality of this and other Naval Academy student research programs can be directly attributed to the sustained and consistent support provided to the Naval Academy by the Office of Naval Research."
In the past three years, ONR has contributed more than $8 million to support over 80 program areas of science and technology research at the Naval Academy.
Boosted by educational enhancements, the midshipmen have quickly become young pioneers in their early research efforts. Aerospace engineering students are studying ways to stabilize directed-energy beams, so they can pinpoint targets. Other midshipmen are identifying how to quell jitters in the platforms that house optical-laser instruments and weapons, making them more accurate and effective. And, midshipmen have furthered naval architecture through their innovations in maritime turbulence.
“From physics to naval architecture and dozens of other strategic disciplines, emerging knowledge produced by midshipmen is helping to reshape the frontiers of our capabilities,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin P. Carr Jr., who leads ONR. “Their research will influence the future of our Navy and Marine Corps as well as our nation.”
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