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NEWS | Dec. 18, 2023

Student tours highlight STEM-related career paths at NUWC Division, Keyport

By Frank Kaminski, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport

Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport welcomed nearly 40 students from Central Kitsap High School for tours of several command facilities, Dec. 8, as part of its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics outreach program.

Sam De Lano, outreach coordinator for NUWC Division, Keyport’s STEM outreach program, said the goal of the tours was to foster interest in STEM-related careers among young people in the region.

“I think it’s important to expose students at this age to as many technical opportunities as possible so they can begin to formalize their ideas of what they want to be when they grow up,” said De Lano.

The event began with a brief welcome and overview from NUWC Division, Keyport Commanding Officer Capt. Clinton Hoskins and Acting Technical Director Darren Barnes, followed by visits to specialized areas offering varied insights into the varied and complex work done at the command.

Among these were the additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping shop, where students saw industrial-grade laser clad and industrial 3D printing machines, and the electronics fabrication and machine shops, where they got to see the precision and skill involved in crafting electronics and machine components.

Mechanical Engineer Kyle Morris led the 3D printing portion of the tour, during which he displayed the printers, described their capabilities and showed off sample parts previously made by them.

Morris said part of his goal was to make students aware of 3D printing as a potential career path for mechanical engineers. “Some people may not realize that if you go into mechanical engineering, 3D printing could be one of your career options,” he said.

In the Electronics Shop, students got to see a laser wire engraving machine at work as a technician programmed it to write “NUWC Keyport” onto pieces of wiring.

They also visited facilities where torpedo components are repaired and legacy systems are maintained.

Applied Electronics/Mechanical Technology Branch Head Ted Shuey, who guided the groups through several tour areas, said he believes these tours are important because they offer students a chance to see firsthand what it’s like to work in STEM fields, which helps them make informed decisions about their future educational and career choices.

“They hear about it in class, but until they get a tour of the workplace it’s not going to mean anything to them,” said Shuey. “They need to see the end state.”

Shuey said the tour “seemed to really resonate well” with the students and that they asked many good questions. “Every group I saw looked mesmerized,” he added.

NUWC Division, Keyport has a robust STEM outreach program that engages with students throughout the community on various STEM-related activities. For more information about the program, contact De Lano at 360-516-0859.