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CHIPS Articles: The Future’s So Bright, Students Gotta Wear Shades …. Navy scientists engage nation’s classrooms

The Future’s So Bright, Students Gotta Wear Shades …. Navy scientists engage nation’s classrooms
By Patric Petrie, SSC Pacific - October 19, 2018
SAN DIEGO —Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) reached into classrooms across America through a first-ever livestream outreach event in an effort to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and to help build a robust future pool of American scientists and researchers, Oct. 16, 2018.

In association with the Navy's Chief of Information (CHINFO) Community Outreach Office (Pentagon), the Defense Media Activity (DMA) at Fort Meade Maryland, and the Defense Visual Distribution Service (DVIDS), SSC Pacific-produced “virtual field trip” offered middle school students from more than 73 school districts across 18 states with the opportunity to tune-in live to watch scientists Dr. Burton Neuner III and Dr. Brittany Lynn discuss photonics through an interactive presentation of “Ocean Light and Communication and Invisible Light.”

SSC Pacific videographer and event coordinator Aaron Lebsack explained the project’s significance this way. “Our conventional approach of sending our scientists and engineers to the classroom has always inspired STEM learning; however, by reversing that process and inviting the student inside our laboratories in the form of a ‘virtual field trip’ allows our team to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals on a much larger scale,” he said.

San Diego Unified School District K-8 school Bethune hosted the live-stream for the 40-plus enthusiastic students in teacher Kelly Marcarelli’s 8th grade science class. In addition to participating in the live-stream, SSC Pacific’s Dr. Sarah Lauff offered first hand additional classroom activities and answered students’ questions in real-time. School principal Valerie Jurado was thrilled by both the professionalism of the scientists and the engagement from students.

“This was such a great opportunity for students to see real-world applications of science in everyday life,” she said. “I am so proud of our kids. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to engage, and who knows what the impact will be on them in the future? One of our kids went to Space Camp just a short while ago, and now she wants to be an astronaut. This is an incredible opportunity for our kids to learn from real scientists.”

The presentation can be seen via the DVIDS webcast link at

SSC Pacific's mission: To conduct research, development, engineering, and support of integrated command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, and space systems across all warfighting domains, and to rapidly prototype, conduct test and evaluation, and provide acquisition, installation, and in-service engineering support.

(Left to right) SSC Pacific's Dr. Brittany Lynn speaks with Patrick Enright, Mass Communication Specialist, 1st Class, during the live-stream STEM outreach event to middle schools across America Oct. 16, 2018. Photo by Alan Antczak/Released
SSC Pacific scientist Dr. Sarah Lauff engages an enthusiastic group of 8th graders from Bethune K-8 before the live-stream STEM event Oct. 16, 2018.
Eighth graders from Bethune K-8 watch Dr. Burton Neuner conduct experiments with light during Oct. 16’s live-stream event “Ocean Light and Communication and Invisible Light.”
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