Navy Secretary Stresses Need for Science Education at Launch of Learning Center in Bronx, N.Y.


Story Number: NNS101104-20Release Date: 11/4/2010 9:30:00 PM
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From Office of Naval Research, Corporate Communications

BRONX, N.Y. (NNS) -- To counter the dwindling number of students interested in science and technology, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Iridescent opened the doors of a new learning center in Bronx, N.Y., Nov. 4 with a ribbon-cutting by the secretary of the Navy (SECNAV).

SECNAV Ray Mabus joined Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr; acclaimed social activist and educator Geoffrey Canada; Iridescent founder Tara Chklovski; Congressman Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.); and a host of New York City officials as they celebrated the opening of the studio with more than 2,000 students from the local community, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

With America's growing reliance on innovation, and a future where students must have a basic understanding of math and science, the Navy hopes the studio in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx will spark young people's interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, careers.

"This science studio won't do any good if you don't use it," Mabus told the students who were crowded under three giant tents on a rainy day. "You have to come back, and come back with your parents for this STEM partnership to work.

"We are doing this for selfish reasons," Mabus said of the Navy's investment in STEM programs aimed at K-12 students. "We want some of you to come work for and support the Navy. The Navy is very proud of this partnership and investment in the nation's future."

Carr, who as chief of naval research leads the Navy's science and technology organization, said the partnership with Iridescent benefits the Navy as well as underserved communities. Iridescent, an educational nonprofit, offers numerous resources for students and parents, including after-school programs, mentors and science discovery activities.

"I'm excited about our partnership with Iridescent and its reach into high-density underserved communities," Carr said. "The heart of this program is training college students to mentor students and work with their parents to kindle their interest in STEM."

Carr noted that a similar science studio, which opened last month in Los Angeles, has reached 5,000 students. He said he is looking for a bigger impact in New York City. "It's a perfect match with ONR's role in science and technology and the Secretary's desire to increase this outreach," Carr said.

Mabus, who at one time served as Mississippi's governor, told those in attendance he is interested in similar outreach efforts in rural areas across the country.

"Tomorrow, the space shuttle is taking off with six astronauts," Mabus said in his speech. "Not long ago, they were in middle and high school. Twenty years from now, I want you to be on the way to Mars. The Navy and this nation need you."

For more news from Office of Naval Research, visit www.navy.mil/local/onr/.

STORY COMMENTS2 COMMENTS
11/6/2010 9:01:00 PM
Manning nuclear submarines was a challenge when I taught NROTC in the 1970s. Completion of college courses in calculus and physics was the only requirement for nuclear power training, but midshipmen wanted to take statistics and biology for their math and science electives. Elementary school teachers who had trouble with physics taught only biology for "science," and told their students physics was too difficult for them. We must emphasize physics and chemistry in elementary school.

11/5/2010 2:44:00 PM
I surely have no problems in taxpayers money sailing this way, but the Navys budget has enough wiggleroom to pick one city a year to build another. I believe though that the learning center be Navy-based science. If we go all Navy and I guess I should say Marines also, we might be able to recruit from that talent base, with at least 30 of these centers. I have done the math for you and we could actually build 10 a year, if we scrapped silly magnetic catapults. (Waste of dollars and endagers ship)

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RELATED PHOTOS
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, watches New York school children build a laser maze during the opening of a new community learning and discovery center.
101104-N-7676W-067 NEW YORK (Nov. 4, 2010) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, watches New York school children build a laser maze during the opening of a new community learning and discovery center. The center is co-sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Iridescent, a nonprofit educational organization, in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, N.Y. Increasing the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, educational pipeline is a priority for the Navy and ONR. The festival included interactive exhibits, science experiments and design challenges for families. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released)
November 4, 2010
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