United States Naval Research Laboratory

Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

STEM Education

The Department of Defense (DOD) recognizes the downward trend shown by U.S. students in their knowledge of science and mathematics. Basic science and mathematics competence gained in grades K-12 form the foundation of an educated, capable, and technical future workforce needed by DOD for national security.

NRL-SSC supports the Department of Defense and Office of Naval Research goals of promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in local schools through the STEM2stern and National Defense Education Program (NDEP).

The overall long-term goal of the education outreach program at NRL-SSC program is to InSuRe our future workforce:

  • Inspire students to pursue STEM careers.
  • Share the NRL-SSC and Navy mission with the local community.
  • Retain the best and brightest local talent for our future workforce.

The short-term objectives for the education outreach program are to:

  • 1. Establish a successful, sustainable, and affordable long-term DOD-wide program to invigorate STEM curricula at the elementary through secondary school levels;
  • 2. Enhance the teaching skills of STEM teachers to deliver that curricula; and
  • 3. Increase the level of awareness and interest of students in STEM activities, projects, and career opportunities.

ONR's STEM2stern and DoD's NDEP programs allow NRL-SSC to support many types of STEM education opportunities in the New Orleans metro area and all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast through established programs like SeaPerch, FIRST, and MATHCOUNTS and other ongoing and one-time events (e.g., career days and science fair judges).

School Partners*
St. Tammany Parish Schools, La.
Picayune School District, Miss.
Hancock County School District, Miss.
Bay-Waveland School District, Miss.
St. Stanislaus College, Miss.
Our Lady Academy, Miss.
Coast Episcopal School, Miss.
Pearl River County Schools, Miss.
Long Beach School District, Miss.
Biloxi Public Schools, Miss.
St. Patrick High School, Miss.
*In total, our signed EPAs affect more than 75 schools in the communities surrounding NRL-SSC.

Other Partners (Formal and Informal)
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, La.
University of Southern Mississippi
Greater New Orleans STEM Initiative
Northshore Community Foundation
Hancock County Library System
NASA-Stennis Space Center Education Office

Students and teachers interact with scientists and engineers from NRL-SSC and its partner organizations (such as the Naval Oceanographic Office and NASA) through several established formal programs and one-day events (e.g., career days and science fairs) at the teachers' schools.

NRL-SSC encourages STEM teachers to consider three formal programs: SeaPerch; FIRST Lego League, Tech Challenge, and Robotics; and MATHCOUNTS.

In-class activities all involve inquiry-based learning, where the students are required to perform hands-on activities to grasp basic STEM concepts.

Other programs can be supported. Teachers, students and mentors should contact NRL-SSC Public Affairs.

For Teachers
Professional development opportunities are frequently made available to local math and science teachers. Many of these training opportunities frequently provide CEUs.

The Greater New Orleans STEM Initiative provides teacher training for high school and middle school science teachers promoting the Modeling Instruction Program developed at Arizona State University.

The University of Southern Mississippi is performing curriculum development that is designed to meet state standards for Misissippi and Louisiana. USM is also providing teacher training to embed literacy into STEM content areas.

Programs are available for teachers of grades K-12. For upcoming opportunities, contact NRL-SSC Public Affairs.

For Scientists and Engineers
Partnering scientists and engineers with teachers in the classroom is essential to the success of our mission. Experience has shown that when DOD civilian scientists and engineers collaborate with classroom teachers, they enrich student learning in the classroom environment.

Therefore, collaboration with onsite Navy commands and other government partners is critical to the sustainability and diversity of our program.

Through efforts to promote STEM projects and develop partnerships with the local schools and stakeholders, we believe sharing our mission (and the larger Navy mission) with the local community will ultimately lead to a better public perception and understanding of the role of the U.S. Navy at SSC, in our community and our nation.

It is critical that S&Es honestly and enthusiastically represent the high quality research and operational work conducted at NRL-SSC and onsite Navy partners while participating in PEP activities with local students, parents, and teachers.

NRL-SSC seeks to expand the pool of available S&Es for participation in STEM outreach activities by leveraging existing expertise and activities conducted by STEM stakeholders from other local federal agencies.

Retired scientists and engineers are encouraged to contact NRL-SSC Public Affairs for opportunities in their communities.