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CHIPS Articles: Maury Project STEM Program Finishes 23rd Year

Maury Project STEM Program Finishes 23rd Year
By George Lammons, NAVIFOR Stennis Public Affairs - August 2, 2016
NAVAL METEOROLOGY & OCEANOGRAPHY COMMAND, STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Ms. – The 23rd edition of the Maury Project, the Navy’s oceanography science technology engineering mathematics (STEM) program ended July 22, sending another 24 pre-college science teachers back to their communities to spread the science of oceanography.

Since 1994, the program has been responsible for training an international network of about 575 teachers at the K-12 level on the fundamentals of physical oceanography. It is co-sponsored by the Oceanography Department of the U.S. Naval Academy and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) with funding by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the State University of New York at Brockport.

“The value of the Maury Project is to conduct a two-week program that focuses on the physical foundations of oceanography,” said Dr. David Smith, U.S. Naval Academy retired associate professor in oceanography and coordinator of the Maury Project. “Twenty-four teachers from across the country are given an extensive background in oceanography, including lectures, hands-on activities and field experiences. Upon completion of the workshop, the attending teachers conduct peer training sessions in their school districts, state science conferences and national science conferences, utilizing the instruction and materials they received at the Maury Workshops. The program has been in existence since 1994, serving about 575 teachers who have reached thousands of teachers through the peer training sessions.”

The Naval Academy serves as host for the summer workshops, providing classrooms and laboratories as well as instructors on a variety of oceanographic topics. The Naval Academy also provides military faculty and ensigns on temporary duty for course instruction.

Through the years, participants have included teachers from the United States, eight foreign countries (Canada, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Japan, Argentina, and Mexico), and Department of Defense schools in Korea, Guam, Germany, Puerto Rico and Great Britain. As a requirement for successful completion of the program, each must conduct a minimum of two peer-training sessions for their colleagues on topics covered at the workshop. To date, Maury Project teachers have conducted workshops in their home states or countries to approximately 25,000 of their fellow teachers.

In addition to acquiring valuable knowledge about physical oceanography, the teachers are exposed to the Naval Academy, the Navy, and the role of the Navy in oceanography, potentially becoming Naval Academy ambassadors in their schools and their communities.

Initial funding for the Maury Project came from a National Science Foundation grant (approximately $866,000) in 1994 to establish the program and fund its operation for three years. In 1995, NMOC and ONR started contributing to the project, initially each provided $20,000 per year. This funding has continued with ONR now providing more than $100,000 annually. In addition, the U.S. Naval Academy provides about $50,000 annually in direct and in-kind support. The program also provides educational opportunities to midshipmen and ensigns who volunteer to participate as part of their summer elective training.

The Maury Project was named for Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873), considered to be the father of oceanography, and first superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory appointed in 1844.

The Navy Oceanography community is, with intelligence, information professionals, cryptologists, cyber and space, a part of the Navy’s Information Warfare Community, which is led by the Navy’s newest type command, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR). NAVIFOR' s mission is to support operational commanders ashore and afloat by providing combat-ready Information Warfare forces, which are forward deployable, fully trained, properly manned and capably equipped.

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Lt. M. F. Maury, USN - Reproduced from an original painting by Captain Charles Bittinger, USNR, a deceased former member of the Naval Historical Foundation.
Lt. M. F. Maury, USN - Reproduced from an original painting by Captain Charles Bittinger, USNR, a deceased former member of the Naval Historical Foundation.
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