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NSWC Crane, Bloomfield Jr./Sr. High School Partner on STEM Initiative


Present and former Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) employees are serving alongside teachers at a local school, working hands-on with students as part of a total immersion project designed to bring the naval installation into the school system. NSWC Crane has partnered with the DirectEmployers Foundation, Bloomfield Jr./Sr. High School, and Indiana University's Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration to put personnel into the classroom and use special projects to bring learning to life for students.

In August, NSWC Crane representatives, including Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Elder, attended an open house at Bloomfield Jr./Sr. High School to explain the new business simulation pilot program, which will immerse kids in a corporate environment while augmenting their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. "Starting (next month), there will be dedicated classroom space where NSWC Crane employees can provide students with real-life experience solving tough technical problems throughout the school year," Elder said.

Personnel are working with teachers inside the school's current STEM curriculum to assist kids with completing a projectin an environment designed to mimic the look and feel of NSWC Crane, where students will learn skills that coincide with Crane's daily work regimen. "Workplace equipment and decor, as well as a focus on replicating the warfare center's corporate culture, will create a realistic simulation of the base so students can increase their STEM knowledge and understanding of the importance of timeliness and responsibility," explained NSWC Crane Director of Engagement Brian Blackwell. The initiative will also increase NSWC Crane's long-term ability to accomplish its mission and ensure a readilyavailable and relevant workforce pipeline within the region by allowing Crane to shape and influence the development of better STEM talent.

Bloomfield Jr./Sr. High School Principal David Dean said working in conjunction with NSWC Crane personnel is a great opportunity for students to learn about STEM careers in southern Indiana. "They can get their education and then come back here to find a great paying job that is exciting, creative and worthwhile," he noted. "It's also exciting that they won't only be learning about the engineering process, but also all the skills that go along with that. They'll be picking up presentation skills, interview skills and various other people skills."

NSWC Crane's STEM program was recognized as one of Indiana's technology success stories in May when TechPoint, Indiana's technology growth initiative, presented STEM Director Tina Closser with the award for Tech Educator of the Year at its annual Mira Awards gala in downtown Indianapolis. That same month, Bloomfield Senior High's aquatic stereotype team, mentored by NSWC Crane personnel, became a national champion at the National SeaPerch Challenge robotics competition at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

The goal of NSWC Crane's K-12 STEM Outreach Program is to facilitate the use of NSWC Crane resources to motivate, cultivate and attract the next generation of STEM talent. The program accomplishes this by providing students and teachers with NSWC Crane scientist and engineer mentors for a variety of programs. Since the inception of its STEM program, NSWC Crane and its personnel have served over 8,000 students, 100 teachers, and 100 schools.

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