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NEWS | Jan. 10, 2024

PSNS & IMF helps to provide learning opportunities for students enrolled in Kitsap County public schools

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Kitsap County is home to more than 277,000 people, approximately 19 percent of whom are under the age of 18. This creates a high community demand for quality education and engagement opportunities geared toward elementary and high school students. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility recently provided enrichment and learning opportunities for local fifth grade students from Silver Ridge Elementary School through STEM Days, at the Puget Sound Navy Museum in Bremerton. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

“STEM topics can be hard,” said Dianna Palermo, PSNS & IMF STEM outreach coordinator. “However, research shows that participation in STEM programs can set elementary students on STEM pathways for further learning and career aspirations. These fifth graders had so much fun at STEM Days that they didn’t even realize how hard they’d worked and how much they’d grown.”

STEM Days activities at the Puget Sound Navy Museum included testing and driving student-constructed underwater remotely operated vehicles, visiting a portable planetarium, and learning the difference between high-tech machines and robots.

Navy STEM Days are a free field trip program for fourth and fifth grade public school students, facilitated by collaboration between PSNS & IMF, Puget Sound Navy Museum, U.S. Naval Undersea Museum and Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport.

“In 2014, educators from all four organizations came to the conclusion that we were all trying to serve the same students and struggling in our efforts due to space or staffing limitations,” said Carolyn Lane, education specialist, Puget Sound Navy Museum. “The museums have physical space, but few staff members, while PSNS & IMF and NUWC Division, Keyport have access to deep staff resources, but are limited on publicly-accessible space. After careful consideration and planning, we decided to pool our resources for collective benefit. The Navy STEM Days program now brings more than 50 percent of the fourth and fifth grade students enrolled in Kitsap County public schools to either the Puget Sound Navy Museum or the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum.”

Overseen by the Office of Naval Research, STEM programming supports the Department of the Navy’s education and outreach programs. Using national learning standards, Navy STEM programs are deliberate investments in the current and future Navy workforce, which enhance the Navy and Marine Corps’ ability to meet present and future war-fighting challenges. Focus areas of Navy STEM programs are: to inspire, engage, and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, technology professionals, and medical professionals; to employ, retain, and develop diverse civilian and military technical workforce; and to collaborate across the naval STEM communities and with other agencies to maximize benefits to the Navy.

“The STEM Days program is growing fast and we even have some schools on a program waitlist,” said Erin Guizzetti, PSNS & IMF STEM coordinator. “The program currently has 28 STEM Days schools and the shipyard is always looking for volunteers to help with facilitating STEM activities, which can be completed during the workday. It’s a great opportunity for both self-development and community service.”

Members of the PSNS & IMF workforce are encouraged to volunteer for STEM community outreach activities, which can be completed in a paid status. STEM is a command-sponsored community service activity and volunteers receive training on facilitating student projects. All new volunteers need to complete a command volunteer form with their supervisor. Volunteer applications, with school district background checks, are required for all volunteers who mentor at a school during school hours. Carpools are available from PSNS & IMF.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the PSNS & IMF STEM office at