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NEWS | April 14, 2021

NSWC Crane STEM Program hosts Annual Team Crane Science Fair virtually

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) youth Science, Engineering, Technology, and Math (STEM) Program hosted the 37th Annual Team Crane Science Fair virtually for regional students. The Team Crane Science Fair took place during the week of April 5, 2021.

Regional students, either as individuals or as part of teams, submitted more than fifty projects to the virtual science and engineering fair.

Tina Closser, the STEM Coordinator at NSWC Crane, says it is great to be able to continue the tradition of hosting the Team Crane Science Fair.

“This annual science fair is a tradition at Crane,” says Closser. “It is important to provide this opportunity for students and STEM professionals to interact directly. The students get feedback about their ideas from someone that is outside the classroom. It’s good for them to hear from a STEM professional.”

The Team Crane Science Fair is part of the NSWC Crane’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, which strives to encourage the teaching of science, math and engineering in southern Indiana.

Closser says the event has evolved over the years, including this year’s fair held virtually, to accommodate to student needs.

“When the event started, it was in the gym on base,” says Closser. “It was hard to get the buses on base, and as more students signed up to participate, there was a need for a more spacious location. We started having it at WestGate Academy, and that has been a nice venue. With the added space, we could include technical demonstrations from Crane and partners so students can see how science is applied as a career in the Department of Defense.”

Students submitted projects to one of many categories: behavioral science, biology, chemistry, consumer science, computer science, environmental science, inventions, and physics.

Closser says the science fair, though pivoted to a virtual event to accommodate regional schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, provides opportunities to students.

“It is important to pique kids’ interest in STEM, Crane, and the Navy, showing them where an interest in science and engineering can lead them in their future,” says Closser. “The event also gives students the opportunity to network not just with professionals and potential mentors, but with peers. Students can talk to students with similar interests at other schools, and it gives them a broader perspective.”

NSWC Crane's STEM program reaches over 8,000 students through field trips, teacher trainings, a STEM lending library, and afterschool programs. The goals for STEM outreach are to facilitate STEM programs in local schools; motivate students, parents, and teachers to engage in STEM learning; cultivate an innovative, technically excellent STEM work force; and attract a technically excellent STEM workforce in the future.