IMAGE: SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (Feb. 29, 2020) – Capt. Casey Plew, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) commanding officer, talks with members of the Spotsylvania High School’s Girls Go CyberStart group at the annual science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) Summit hosted by Chancellor High School. Plew was among the NSWCDD leaders, scientists and engineers who joined a myriad of organizations to engage students with science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) demonstrations. “By the end of Girls Go CyberStart, students will have delved into disciplines such as cryptography, digital forensics and open source intelligence gathering and more,” according to the organization’s website. “The program gets increasingly difficult, but the first stage is designed to be accessible to anyone to uncover hidden superstars with natural ability.” (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Opportunities in Naval STEM: Today, Tomorrow, and the Future

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 25 November 2020

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 25 November 2020

Welcome to my blog! I'm Sandy Landsberg, and I'm excited to introduce you to Naval Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—a.k.a. Naval STEM.

I’ve been doing STEM all my life. For as long as I can remember, I loved math. Yes, I was that nerdy little girl with pigtails and glasses.

My love for math and fascination with science continued to grow throughout the years. When I was applying for college, my mom didn’t just encourage me to do engineering; she flat out told me it was the only field of study I was allowed to pursue. She was pretty strict. Luckily, she didn’t tell me which field of engineering; I got to choose that.

This was back in the 1980s, and I thought the Space Shuttle program was the coolest thing, so I decided to major in aerospace engineering. College was hard. I had this love-hate relationship with it, but I persevered and graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in aerospace engineering.

While I had applied to NASA, I fortunately landed a job at the Naval Research Laboratory. It was the start of a long and awesome professional career in STEM. I didn't understand all the cool stuff the Navy did; 30 years later, I'm still learning about new science and technology every day. I consider myself a scientist, mathematician and engineer, and I’m honored to lead the Naval STEM program for the Department of the Navy. 

This blog will introduce you to Naval STEM. I look forward to highlighting some of the extraordinary scientists, engineers, educators and students in Naval STEM in future posts.

Let’s talk about Naval STEM. Naval STEM works to foster and cultivate a diverse, world-class STEM workforce, in order for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to maintain our technological edge. We provide STEM education and outreach opportunities for students—kindergarten through PhD—to inspire them to pursue STEM, increase their awareness of STEM opportunities and careers, and connect students with our mentors.  These opportunities allow and encourage students to apply their knowledge and creativity to solve naval challenges of today and tomorrow. 

We are reimagining Naval STEM.  We want to broaden participation so all students have access to opportunities to learn about STEM careers. Here are some upcoming opportunities.  We welcome you to apply for any program that interests you.




Application due date



High school


Nov. 30, 2020




Nov. 30, 2020




Dec. 1, 2020




See Website


I also wanted to share two new virtual opportunities. The first is an online video series designed to introduce STEM college students to cutting-edge science and technology topics that impact the Navy and Marine Corps. Students have the opportunity to complete the challenge associated with the videos to earn cash and get connected with one of our STEM professionals.

The second is the Artificial Intelligence Tracks at Sea challenge, where STEM college students provide a software solution to a real Navy problem. If you are a STEM college student, I encourage you to participate by visiting and

STEM has always been a part of my life, and I hope to foster that love for STEM in others. I have a lot of great STEM stories to share.

Welcome again, and please come explore some of the cool science and technology happening across the Department of the Navy.




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