WALDORF, Maryland —
The doors to the Waldorf West Library opened at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, and streams of giddy children and their parents flooded into the library’s conference room that had been transformed into a hive of STEM activity. The Charles County Public Library (CCPL) hosted this inaugural STEM event, together with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head EOD Technology Division (IHEODTD), to recognize the Maryland STEM Festival: a month-long STEM celebration taking place from October 10 through November 11.
Maryland STEM Festival highlights the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in Maryland and seeks to inspire children to pursue science-related careers and encourages businesses to invest in Maryland.
At the Waldorf West Library event, children were encouraged to interact with EOD robots, enjoy STEM-related games, sit in an ejection seat and most importantly — get energized about STEM.
“This festival was an opportunity for us to partner with NSWC IHEODTD: the county’s second largest employer and an invaluable resource of STEM knowledge,” said CCPL’s Marketing Manager Erin Del Signore. “The kids loved engaging with the command’s technology and learning about the important role it has in keeping our warfighters safe. The fact they were also able to engage with its subject matter experts about how these items are used and why STEM is such a critical piece of the equation made this a truly special event. It is a priority for the library to be able to provide STEM-themed programs to our patrons. This is a great partnership between our organizations that we hope continues to grow and flourish.”
Students learned about the cartridge actuate devices/propellant actuated devices necessary for pilots to safely egress from aircraft ejection seats; engaged with STEM command representatives to understand how robotics are keeping the warfighter safe on the battlefields; and tried on bombproof suits to see what it’s like for EOD personnel as they don these outfits to deactivate explosive ordnance.
Attendees were also made aware of the STEM programs and opportunities offered by both the library system and the command.
“Creating vigorous STEM engagements like this isn’t just critical for maintaining our global edge in science and technology: it’s integral,” said NSWC IHEODTD Technical Director Ashley Johnson. “This was a fantastic event with CCPL and an opportunity to leverage our technology and people to support STEM in the community.”
NSWC IHEODTD — a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and part of the Navy's Science and Engineering Establishment — is the leader in ordnance, energetics, and EOD solutions. The Division focuses on energetics research, development, testing, evaluation, in-service support, and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit, and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.