Photo By David Stoehr | Mike DeSousa, an engineer in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department, remotely assists students in a summer STEM program with the Sea Lab Marine Science Education Center in New Bedford, Massachusetts at the Undersea Collaboration and Technology Outreach Center on July 15. The Sea Lab program taught STEM skills to 350 public school students.

Story by Public Affairs Office / Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport

NEWPORT, R.I. — Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s Educational Outreach recently helped 350 public school students in New Bedford, Massachusetts, complete a summer STEM program with online courses and instruction.

Because of the health and safety challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers with the Sea Lab Marine Science Education Center in New Bedford, that oversees a nationally recognized marine science program, developed a virtual and hands-on plan that would keep students and teachers safe. Consisting of one and two-hour remote learning science experiences, the Sea Lab summer curriculum was designed to provide engaging science content. Each marine learning experience was developed to pique student interest, promote a love of science and pave the way for future careers in science or engineering. The program is conducted at no cost to students.

On July 15, NUWC Division Newport hosted the New Bedford teachers at the state-of-the-art Undersea Collaboration and Technology Outreach Center. The teachers assisted the Sea Lab students with remotely coding the movement of undersea robots that were built during the online classes.

“We worked hard with the folks at Sea Lab to develop something engaging as we adapt to virtual learning. Students spent so much time in front of a screen this spring — we wanted to be able to provide a hands-on experience — even if remotely,” Division Newport Educational Director Candie Desjardins said. “Our outreach team did a great job creating something we can continue in whatever form schools return to. We will be sharing with our other NAVSEA sites as well.”

NUWC Division Newport’s assistance with the acclaimed program did not go unnoticed.

“I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Candie Desjardins, NUWC Educational Director, for her assistance in making Sea Lab summer sessions a reality,” Simone Bourgeois, Sea Lab facilitator, said. “Sea Lab students tell me all of the time that they never knew that science careers were an option for them and that the program has opened their eyes to new opportunities. These students are the best of the best and their curiosity and love for science make this program a success.”

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.