BREMERTON, Wash (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton held the command's inaugural STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) mentorship program for visiting Bremerton High School students April 26.
"Today kicks off our partnership with Bremerton High School with medical careers and mentorship for the STEM program. Our goal is to give the visiting students the chance to see the career choices available outside their classroom and spark interest for a possible upcoming career path," said Hospital Corpsman Senior Chief Arne A. Marin, Branch Health Clinic Bangor Senior Enlisted Leader, diversity council coordinator and event facilitator.
After joining the command in the traditional Morning Colors, the 14 visiting students were greeted by Captain Christopher Culp, Naval Hospital Bremerton Commanding Officer and Command Master Chief Douglas George.
"For the STEM program today, the 'M' stands for 'Medicine' as we share our military treatment facility with the students," Culp said in his welcoming remarks.
Marin notes that NHB is the perfect locate to engage in promoting the STEM program with interested high school students. "We have Sailors and civilians working at all levels of STEM fields. If the students see the end result of on-going education and actually see personnel working in that field that they choose, it may "spark" a greater interest in a specific medical science field and will encourage them to pursue great education to get there," Marin said, adding that a lot of the command's hospital corpsman are great role models and mentors. "They too are trying to achieve higher education or promotion goals and can share their personal insights on the "hard work, dedication, and commitment" to achieve those goals.
The students were given required Patient Privacy and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) training before meeting their mentors for the morning and commencing on their morning tour of designated work spaces they had chosen beforehand. Each student was asked to chose a primary and secondary specialty, with interest in General Surgery topping the list, followed by Radiology, Labor and Delivery, Nursing, Dental/Oral Surgery, and Physical Therapy. Other areas that piqued the student's curiosity were Biomedical Repair, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Sports Medicine, Family Medicine, Emergency Services, Cardiology, Laboratory, and Pediatrics.
"I'm interested in nursing. This seemed like a good opportunity to come with friends and see for myself," said Bremerton High student Jessica Melocoton who visited and toured NHB's Northwest Beginning Family Birthing, and Labor and Delivery area.
NHB's mentorship involvement with the STEM program is based upon the Naval STEM Strategic Road map that focuses on five priority areas to: Inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers; engage students and build their STEM confidence and skills through hands-on learning activities that incorporate relevant Navy content; educate students to be well prepared for employment in STEM careers that support the Navy and Marine Corps; employ, retain and develop Naval STEM professionals; and collaborate on STEM efforts across the Department of the Navy, federal government and with best practice organizations.
"All these students have it in them to succeed. They just need to be reminded how smart they really are and show them how to get there. It's a great feeling and sense of accomplishment when we take part in someone's career development, especially when they graduate or return to say "thank you," or you see them being successful," Marin shared.
Navy Medicine's interest in STEM includes embracing diversity, reducing current attrition rates at all levels of schooling and advancing STEM education by partnering with local school like Bremerton High School to help bridge the gaps and address the needs of the Navy and the nation. NHB will also take part in the inaugural West Sound STEM Showcase on May 4, to be held at Bremerton High School. NHB Diversity Council Science, Service, Medicine and Mentoring (S2M2) Program will staff their "Military Medicine Skill Booth" to showcase such topics as sports injuries and treatment; physical therapy; hemorrhage control; preventive medicine; environmental injuries; dental emergencies; burn victim treatment and more.
"We could not do this without the backing of the command leadership and support from staff who volunteered as mentors," said Marin.
"These high school students are our future hospital corpsmen, doctors, dentists, nurses, or biomedical repair engineers. What we say will go a long way and may make their impossible dream seem reachable for their future career goals."
Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, Chief of Naval Research, Naval STEM Executive wrote in the Office of Naval Research Science and Technology January newsletter, "STEM skills and expertise are critical to the effectiveness of the Navy and Marine Corps. Without innovation we cannot maintain our military dominance. Unfortunately, by almost every measure, our country is falling behind in math and science. Across the Navy and Marine Corps we have decided that we must step up to help address this problem in order to ensure our future workforce."
"Some students get discouraged during their school years about careers in STEM because it can seem so unattainable. There is a growing concern for the 21st century of not having enough people in STEM fields. We need to spark that interest and it starts at the school-age level," said Marin.
"Being involved in the STEM program is important to support our future generation in these fields," said Marin. "We need them to be successful in the 21st century. They will be running our country."
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Naval Hospital Bremerton, visit www.navy.mil/local/nhb/.