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NEWS | Oct. 24, 2022

Come One, Come All to Dahlgren Downtown!

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) invited the public to venture into Downtown Fredericksburg to The Old Silk Mill to explore what their Navy neighbor has up their sleeves. Dahlgren Downtown brought the best of NSWCDD to Fredericksburg with plenty of interactive activities and historical and technology displays – all to create an experience for the community to dive into a glimpse of what NSWCDD has to offer to the community, the Navy and the country as a whole.

The all-day event gave the community an opportunity to experience a Potomac River Test Range boat up-close and personal, control robots and participate in a wide variety of STEM activities. Visitors could also view several historical and technological displays while having the opportunity to ask questions to NSWCDD experts and scientists.

Fredericksburg locals Audrey Lipscomb and her grandchildren came to enjoy Dahlgren Downtown for an educational purpose. “I wanted to bring the grandkids into an educational environment for the day,” said Lipscomb. “The history books are different from seeing it in person and I think having that hands-on experience is extremely valuable.”

Lipscomb’s 19-year-old granddaughter, Yasmin, had her “interest piqued by all of the provided material about student programs and internships and found the display about the different kinds of bullets used in naval weaponry and their purpose for benefiting the warfighter the most interesting.”

The event’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) corner created a chance for children to experience three different avenues of STEM at NSWCDD. The first section dove into the evolution of robotics, showing the benefit of student-learning through building and operating robots. “NSWCDD’s STEM program has so much to offer into the minds of our students and hopefully can impact the next generation of scientists or engineers,” said Michael Clark, NSWCDD’s Chief Technology Office Director of Academic Engagement.

The American Society of Naval Engineers provided some technology to allow guests to build a boat through a video game simulation software. The technology best shows the concept of force, mass and acceleration. The software makes it easy to teach and engage students in the subject of physics in a way that is Navy-based but relatable as well.

During the event, community members of all ages navigated aquatic robots through the water tank alongside NSWCDD Scientist and Program Lead for the SeaPerch program, Luis Valcourt-Colon. The SeaPerch program is an opportunity for students to build an underwater rover and learn how to navigate through a predefined course and compete against other schools.

NSWCDD’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was also on hand, providing real-world displays of varying types of large interactive robots. The three large robots provided by EOD stirred up a lot of fun and kept Dahlgren Downtown visitors on their toes.

“The event was eye-opening,” said Evette Roman, a local who brought her children to see the exhibits. “It showed me that anybody has the possibility to pursue a career in engineering or STEM. It was great to see my kids show interest in the capabilities displayed.”

Not only was the event jammed pack with tons of exciting technology and exhibits, but there was also live music brought to you by the Dahlgren Band and a local food truck where attendees could get a bite to eat after digesting all of the interesting information.

To close the event, NSWCDD leadership hosted a formal evening event for local area community leaders.