Augmented Reality. Cybersecurity. Robotics.
Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) engineers enthusiastically showcased state-of-the-art technologies to throngs of children during the annual Philadelphia Science Carnival on the Ben Franklin Parkway, May 4.
“Participating in events like this is important to the Navy as they involve the entire community. We get to market our capabilities, as well as inform people about general science,” said Tristan Wolfe, NSWCPD’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program Manager, as he explained how the Special Transport Omnidirection Robot for Metrology Scanning (STORMS) demonstrates a number of engineering concepts.
Children visiting the NSWCPD booth had a number of hands-on opportunities to learn first-hand how the Navy uses STEM to meet its mission. Robotics, laser metrology, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, cybersecurity, and electric motor demonstrations drew a steady number of visitors to NSWCPD’s area throughout the day, according to Wolfe, who remarked how this event tends to attract upwards of 35,000 participants.
The day-long, free-to-the-public Science Carnival is the culmination of Philadelphia’s annual nine-day Science Festival that aims to “educate, inspire and excite the Delaware Valley about the science present in our everyday lives,” according to event literature.
This was the first Science Carnival for Kathryn Avanzato, a former Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) participant and now a mechanical engineer with NSWCPD’s Combat Support Systems Branch.
“This is a great way to get people involved with our programs by showing the diversity in what we do. We don’t just sit at our desks all day crunching numbers; we have hands-on experience,” said Avanzato, who was guiding children through cybersecurity-related activities.
Fellow mechanical engineer and co-worker of Avanzato, Cassie Miller, noted that she used to do similar community outreach while she was in college.
“I think it’s important for little kids to know what (engineering) is, and important for girls to know that they can do this, too,” Miller said.
Software engineer Adriana Kaplan, MCS (DDG 51 New Ship Construction & LBES Integration) Branch, echoed Miller’s sentiments. “I really enjoy doing these outreach programs for children, especially for young girls to get them interested in engineering. It’s important for them to see other females in the field,” said Kaplan.
NSWCPD employs approximately 2,600 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel doing research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for Navy ships. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.