NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Naval Station Newport hosted 48 local high school students on base Feb. 24, as part of a Newport County Mentor Group tour aimed at "opening the minds" of aspiring students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The group, comprised of students from Middletown, Portsmouth, Rogers, and Tiverton, Rhode Island, high schools, received tours of U.S. Naval War College (NWC) and Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS).
"We need you to think about going into STEM fields," said William F. Bundy, NWC professor, director of the college's Gravely Naval Warfare Research Group, and program lead of the Office of Naval Research-funded STEM camp held annually on base. "We're running low on [STEM professionals], not just in the Navy but nationwide."
At NWC, students received an overview of STEM-related opportunities in the Navy and participated in an experiment that taught them how to light a lightbulb using seawater.
"While we're out at sea, we can't just run out to the Radio Shack and get what we need," said Senior Chief Navy Counselor Ann Ferguson, NWC command career counselor and a former Navy electronics technician.
After departing NWC, students received a tour of SWOS - the Navy's "center of excellence" for surface warfare - talking with Sailors and learning about the various aspects of simulator training.
"SWOS is like Navy drivers' ed on a million dollar scale," said Lt. Bob Burke, SWOS instructor, in describing the school's mission to the group of high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
One group of students, consisting of 12 from nearby Portsmouth High School, took over leadership of the Full Mission Bridge simulator, which had the Narragansett Bay displayed on the screen.
Megan Sieben, the sole female from that group, was assigned conning-officer duties while her classmate Joshua Ray took the helm. The students were a bit timid with their relay of commands, but the enthusiasm was not lacking.
"There is so much more to the Navy than just fighting," said Alex Aminy, a Portsmouth High School junior.
Naval Station Newport tenant commands host dozens of visits annually by area schools in an effort to promote STEM education and tell the Navy's story to the greater Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts communities.
"Getting engaged in science-related careers gives you the ability to provide practical tools to truly affect people's lives," said Capt. Dennis R.D. Boyer, commanding officer of Naval Station Newport.
Naval Station Newport, known as the Navy's center of excellence for officer and senior enlisted education and training, is home to NWC, SWOS, Officer Training Command Newport, Senior Enlisted Academy, Navy Supply Corps School, Naval Justice School and others.
For more news from Naval War College, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/nwc/.