WEST BETHESDA, Md. –
Capt. Mark Vandroff, commanding officer of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, signed an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the University of Iowa on Feb. 26 at Carderock's West Bethesda, Maryland, headquarters.
"The idea is to get students interested in hydrodynamics," said Dr. Thad Michael, a naval architect with Carderock's Propulsors Branch and the partnership program manager for the EPA. Michael received his doctorate in computational hydrodynamics from the university.
He said the partnership started with the naval hydrodynamic certificate program for undergraduates, which is intended to provide students with a solid technical and leadership background that will help graduates to thrive in civilian careers in Navy science and technology positions, and in supporting industry, according to the university website.
Even before this EPA was formalized, Michael said Carderock has had a partnership with the University of Iowa, and he and other Carderock employees have advised student projects, via Skype or teleconference, at the university. He said their partnership has been funded by the Office of Naval Research, which provided the school with a small tow tank that the students can operate themselves.
Dr. John Barkyoumb, Carderock's director of strategic relations, heads Carderock's EPA programs. The program is geared toward public school systems and colleges that want to partner with the Navy to increase awareness for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career paths, potentially leading them to a career in a Navy lab.
The University of Iowa is the 15th EPA that Carderock currently has with schools and colleges. Located in Iowa City, Iowa, the university has one of the nation's oldest fluids laboratories within their IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering Center. The IIHR used to be the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, and although the name has changed, Iowa's college of engineering maintained the acronym for historical reasons. With labs situated alongside the Iowa and Mississippi rivers, IIHR focuses on hydraulic engineering and fluid mechanics, including basic fluid mechanics, laboratory experimentation and computational approaches, something Carderock can lend expertise to.
"There is a long history of hydrodynamics with Iowa," Barkyoumb said. "It's not something many people think about in terms of Iowa, but with the Mississippi River there, there are a lot of hydrodynamics to think about, such as navigation, flood control and power."
Barkyoumb said EPA partnerships allow schools to tap into the vast resources at Carderock, such as the engineers and scientists and their expertise pertaining to naval warfare science and technology; the base's world-class facilities and equipment; and computer software and analytics.
Carderock has several employees who are University of Iowa graduates, working on projects like the Very Large Test Apparatus being tested at Carderock's Large Cavitation Channel in Memphis, Tennessee.
And former employees have gone on to teach at the University of Iowa, like Louis Landweber, once the head of the Hydrodynamics Division at Carderock. Long before Landweber passed away in 1998, he had initiated Iowa's major ship hydrodynamics research program, which continues under Professor Fred Stern.
"Whenever I talk to new employees at Carderock, I always impress upon them that all business is a people business, because it is people who accomplish missions of the organization," Vandroff said. "Partnerships like this are a way to help us attract great people and maintain a top-notch workforce and tap into the expertise at these schools, too."