CHICAGO (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) visited Chicago, Ill., Dec. 16 to meet with cadets, faculty, and staff at the Hyman G. Rickover Naval Academy and educators from the City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and Illinois Institute of Technology.
The purpose of Adm. Gary Roughead's visit was to engage with local educators and learn about innovative programs and methods that prepare youth from diverse backgrounds to pursue higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
According to Roughead, visits to institutions such as Rickover serve an important role in the development of the Navy Total Force.
"It's important for me to come to schools like Rickover to meet with these cadets, because they are the future leaders who will take our nation and our Navy forward," said Roughead. "It's also important to see how we can partner with educational institutions to help students become more successful in the areas of math and science."
Roughead began his day by addressing the nearly 450 cadets at Rickover Naval Academy, a high-performing public high school in Chicago where every student in the school is enrolled in the Navy's Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) program.
"Some of you, I hope many of you, will continue to wear this uniform," said Roughead. "But for those who don't, I still believe it's important that you take away the things that you learned at Rickover. The characteristics and qualities that Rickover has instilled within you and the belief in service, the belief in excellence, and the belief in the commitment to others that you have learned here, because that is what will make the difference in the future."
Many of the cadets in attendance attended summer programs either at the U.S. Naval Academy or through the NJROTC program. The Naval Academy provided cadets an opportunity to experience Academy life at the Annapolis campus during Summer Seminar, an intense, six-day program the summer prior to a student's senior year.
Cadets have also participated in a six-day NJROTC STEM summer program, whose mission is to encourage young people to take advanced courses in math and science in high school and pursue STEM degrees in college. The NJROTC STEM seminar offered an opportunity for some of the cadets to sample and experience undergraduate technical education at the University of San Diego, Purdue University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the University of Idaho.
Roughead wrapped up his visit by meeting with representatives from the City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and the Illinois Institute of Technology to discuss partnership possibilities to prepare students in Chicago's Junior ROTC programs for careers in STEM disciplines.
"The U.S. Navy is a valued potential partner in our work to ensure City Colleges of Chicago students earn degrees of economic value", said Cheryl Hyman, Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. "As an institution in need of leaders with strong backgrounds in STEM, the Navy has important insight into the demands of the workplace and can inform our program design in these areas. The Navy can help us ensure we offer students course work that will make them highly competitive in the 21st century global economy."
STEM education is an important focus for the Navy, because it produces knowledge and innovation in the technical areas of weaponry, logistical support, communications and intelligence, and medicine, which gives technical preeminence to naval forces, and contributes to its robust scientific and engineering workforce.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp-diversity/.