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NSWC Crane supports Indiana University in advancing STEM research collaboration with Minority Serving Institutions

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | Oct. 24, 2019

CRANE, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) supports Indiana University (IU) in its IU-Minority Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Initiative (IU-MSI STEM). NSWC Crane has been involved with the IU-MSI STEM Initiative for four years, strengthening collaborative research opportunities for students and faculty.

Dr. Jack Schmit, the Director of IU-MSI STEM Initiative and the Assistant Dean of the University Graduate School at IU, says Crane’s participation has added value to the program.

“If you look at the IU-MSI STEM Initiative, it is very unique for IU to be working with sixteen other institutions from across the country in a full range of MSIs,” says Dr. Schmit. “We encourage faculty to work with students at our fully engaged partner institution, but once you get smart people together, they figure out how to solve problems and collaborate. When you connect the resources and expertise at IU directly with other institutions, you’re advancing the entire research enterprise. Through the initiative, faculty have the opportunity to collaborate with the expertise at NSWC Crane and students can learn more about research within the Navy.”

According to the National Science Foundation’s 2019 report, women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are underrepresented in fields of science and engineering (S&E). In 2016, underrepresented minority students received twenty-two percent of all S&E bachelor’s degrees and nine percent of all S&E doctorate degrees.

There are five components that make up the initiative. The first is the academic research alliance between the faculty at IU and the sixteen Minority Serving Institutions, which increases research capacity, expands funding opportunities, and strives to inspire, engage, and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers. 

A second component is the NSWC Crane Division Connection, which is the partnership that offers research connections across Crane’s areas of STEM expertise, including optics, material science, computer, mechanical, and electrical engineering. Crane also offers students opportunities to engage with scientists through internships and fellowships.

Dr. Bryan Woosley, the University Liaison at NSWC Crane, says Crane actively engages two other components that focus on engaging the students and faculty.

“NSWC Crane supports the IU-MSI STEM Faculty Research Development Institute (FRDI) and STEM Summer Scholars Institute (SSI) components of the IU-MSI STEM Initiative,” says Dr. Woosley. “NSWC Crane employees present at both events and discuss engagement opportunities with research faculty and students and encourage participants to pursue research projects that will benefit future naval capabilities. The partnership also enriches college curricula as professors become more aware of naval challenges through collaborative research and other interactions with NSWC Crane scientists and engineers.”

Dr. Schmit says the program fosters collaboration between the Department of the Navy and academia.

“By having NSWC Crane as a critical component of the program, we are researching ways to provide lifesaving solutions to real-world challenges,” says Dr. Schmit. “We are creating more avenues for collaboration and showing students they can work on research that contributes to the safety and security that we often take for granted.”

About IU-MSI STEM Initiative

In 2015, IU was awarded a five-year grant from the Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions Program within the Department of the Navy. The original IU-HBCU Initiative began in 2007, but was expanded to include other minority serving institutions and led to the name change. The IU-MSI STEM Initiative aims to build research connections and the pursuit of funding opportunities for faculty in STEM disciplines from sixteen partner institutions.

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.