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STEM Outreach - Westlake HS biology students explore current military applications at NSWC IHEODTD

By NSWC IHEODTD Public Affairs | Oct. 26, 2015

Westlake High School Biology Teacher Jean Benedetti didn't have to travel far to show her students how science and technology is applied at Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division (NSWC IHEODTD), Oct. 13.


Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Deputy Director for Explosive Ordnance Engineering and Explosives Technical Warrant Holder, Dr. Kerry A. Clark, and Benedetti spearheaded the effort to give high school biomedical science students an understanding how classroom science has real-world uses.


Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Sciences program allows students to investigate the roles of biomedical professionals as they study the concepts of human medicine, physiology, genetics, microbiology, and public health. Students engage in relevant hands-on activities to learn in the context of current applications.


The PLTW biomedical program provides opportunities for participants to develop relevant, highly-transferable skills in collaboration, communication and critical thinking.


Clark said NSWC IHEODTD is a natural fit for PLTW because it is home to more than 1,800 employees, 750 of whom are scientists and engineers engaged in research and development to benefit our nation's warfighters.


"These engagements with the community make a big impact on the kids and the schools.  These activities also connect us with the fabric of Charles County," said NSWC IHEODTD Technical Director Ashley Johnson.


Dr. Scott Rauscher, an engineer at NSWC IHEODTD, showed the students his research conducted with sensors to detect traumatic brain injury (TBI). Rauscher is the technical lead on an extremely low-powered microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensor for early TBI detection, as well as the technical lead on a built-in self-test platform for MEMS safety and arming devices.


Lt. Walter Stull and Chief Petty Officer Zechariah Shiflett of NSWC IHEODTD's Technical Support Detachment demonstrated the capabilities of the Advanced Bomb Suit, EOD robotics and the Combined Explosive Exploitation Cells.


Chief Petty Officer Nate Warren, an Independent Duty Navy Corpsman and Navy diver, demonstrated the latest techniques in emergency medical response and diving physiology at the Stump Neck Dive Locker. 


"My favorite part of the trip was getting to try on the bomb suit and seeing the EOD robots in action," said Colby Bommer, a Westlake junior. "The bomb suit was heavy."


NSWC IHEODTD has a proud tradition of supporting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives in Charles County. Cmdr. Henry E. Lackey, the officer-in-charge of Naval Proving Ground Indian Head during World War I, helped start one of the first high schools in the county in 1920.


NSWC IHEODTD - a field activity of the NAVSEA and part of the Navy's Science and Engineering Enterprise - 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.