Last year, the dean of engineering at Syracuse University in New York reached out to Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Jason Gomez, an alum, to set up a knowledge exchange and a tour of the command’s facilities.
The conversations that followed led to an Educational Partnership Agreement (EPA), which allows educational institutions and academic researchers the opportunity to access defense laboratory equipment and resources that may be unavailable otherwise.
“There was enough interest between the organizations that we set up an EPA in March of 2019,” Gomez said.
Division Newport has more than 40 EPAs in effect, from large universities to smaller facilities like the International Yacht Restoration School of Technologies & Trades in Newport, Rhode Island.
An EPA, which can be made with any educational institution from kindergarten through post-graduate level, allows Division Newport scientists and engineers to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. EPAs also allow for equipment loans, help with STEM course development, guest lectures and demonstrations, workshops for teacher and students science and technology education.
Following the signing of the EPA with Syracuse University, the school’s engineering community was introduced to Division Newport during Syracuse Engineering Day, which featured graduate student projects and a poster competition. In the fall, an official recruiting event was held at the university, which resulted in several on-the-spot job offers. It was the first time in many years that Division Newport recruiters visited Syracuse University.
Another engagement was held on Jan. 31 and featured a series of briefings by Division Newport and Syracuse researchers focused on machine learning and distributed systems. This was the first in a number of areas of overlapping research between Syracuse and Division Newport. Hosted by the Chief Technology Office (CTO), the information exchange kicked off with an overview of Division Newport and the science and technology areas of interest.
“While just six percent of the Division Newport workforce is dedicated to science and technology (S&T), it is our path to future capability,” Gomez said. “CTO strives to bring together the S&T community throughout the command and focus their efforts on Navy needs today and in the future.”
Gurdip Singh, Syracuse University’s associate dean for Research and Graduate Programs, provided an overview of Syracuse’s electrical engineering and computer science program.
Singh, who will be leaving Syracuse University for a position at the National Science Foundation’s Division of Computer and Network Systems, shared the school’s top research areas — unmanned systems; security; health and wellness; intelligent systems; energy sources, conversion, and conservation; and sustainable natural and built systems.
“An EPA opens the door for meetings like this,” Gomez said. “With any school we want to have open lines of communication to tap into their educational diversity as well as their capabilities. We can’t be experts in all areas, so it’s important to have a mechanism to reach out to universities and tap into their expertise and potentially influence their research toward enabling future fleet capability.”
International Yacht Restoration School of Technologies & Trades
In December 2019, Division Newport signed an EPA with the International Yacht Restoration School of Technologies & Trades (IYRS) — a school founded to teach students how to build and restore wooden sailboats — to create an opportunity for knowledge sharing with Division Newport scientists and engineers.[link:https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Media/News/SavedNewsModule/Article/2046471/nuwc-division-newport-partners-with-international-yacht-restoration-school/]
On Feb. 28, Division Newport engineers toured the IYRS facility and gave a briefing as part of the school’s “Lunch and Learn” lecture series. Members of the Engineering and Diving Support Unit, Christian Schumacher, Jack Hughes and Keith Bruce, gave an overview of the type of work Division Newport does and shared their experiences as Navy divers providing direct fleet support. This lecture was the first cooperative venture in this EPA.
Of particular interest to Division Newport is the digital modeling and fabrication/composites coursework at IYRS.
IYRS representatives praised the benefits of the EPA.
“I would love to get exposure to the extent possible for students in regards to composites and replacing metals with composites and being on the leading edge of using these composites,” Jay Coogan, IYRS president, said.
“We’re really looking at employment opportunities and exploring career paths,” Bill Kenyon, IYRS director of education, said. “We always look at boatyards for placing students and this would be another path completely.”
IYRS students were particularly interested in Hughes’ briefing on the Engineering and Diving Support Unit. Following his briefing, Hughes completed all the steps required for Division Newport to donate three of its unused outboard motors to IYRS. Instead of being disposed, the engines will help students in their coursework.
“This outreach and being a part of the community is vital for NUWC,” Hughes said. “It’s important for us to be citizens of Newport and Rhode Island.
I’m from Rhode Island and I didn’t know about IYRS and what they did.”
NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.
NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.
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