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Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

STEM program manager wins Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center's 2021 Civilian of the Year

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 01 June 2021

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 01 June 2021

Congratulations to Ms. Carina Reeves, a STEM Program Manager at the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC), for her selection as NAVFAC EXWC's 2021 Civilian of the Year!

Carina is one of our stellar Naval STEM Federal Action Officers (FAOs).  Our FAOs are one of our most valuable assets. They are the ones that manage and execute our STEM education and outreach initiatives throughout the Department of the Navy (DON) to our local communities. Simply put, FAOs are our boots on the ground! I greatly appreciate all of our FAOs for their dedication and hard work throughout the year.

In this blog, I wanted you to get to know Carina better. Read on to discover more about Carina's passion for STEM education and outreach!

When did you start working with Naval STEM?

I began working with Naval STEM in the Fall of 2019 when I asked how NAVFAC might fully participate as a Naval STEM stakeholder. Naval STEM advised us to appoint an FAO and STEM Champion. NAVFAC solidified those roles in October 2019.

What specific STEM program are you most proud of, and why?

I inherited the EXWC STEM program, and I am actively working with EXWC STEM professionals and industry/non-profit partners to develop new programs. 

The program that I am currently most proud of is SeaGlide. SeaGlide is a mini underwater glider autonomous robot. The SeaGlide program invites high school students to act as In-Service Engineering Agents (ISEAs) and provide distance support on the mechanical, electrical, and control systems of the SeaGlide. The students will then compete their SeaGlide with other students' SeaGlides.

Before Covid, EXWC would fund facilitators to train educators on the use of SeaGlide. We would then host a large in-person competition and STEM exhibition at the Port of Hueneme—over 500 students would participate in the exhibition and watch the SeaGlide competition. Over the past year, EXWC has trained its engineers and scientists in its Ocean and Environmental departments on the SeaGlide program. This year, EXWC STEM professionals will lead the SeaGlide program and host the regional SeaGlide competition in coordination with FATHOMWERX and the Ventura County Office of Education. FATHOMWERX is the research laboratory that serves as the Ventura Tech Bridge for NavalX. 

The goal of SeaGlide is to prepare high school students for the RoboNation competition at the college level. Locally, EXWC uses the SeaGlide program to bring Naval career awareness to the local community in a big way! The SeaGlide Competition and STEM Exhibition is one of the most significant K-12 outreach programs at the Port of Hueneme.

What attracted you to STEM education and outreach, and what continues to motivate you?

I spent eight years of my federal career conducting outreach in federal museums. At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, I served as an education specialist and was part of a team awarded the 2017 Silver Muse Award in Games & Virtual/Augmented Reality by the American Alliance of Museums. I am passionate about educating students in new, exciting and innovative ways. Seeing students from high-risk areas immersed in the simulation often brought teachers to tears—they were so proud of their students and loved seeing them come alive. Student excitement for learning continues to motivate me.

What do you enjoy most in serving as a STEM Program Manager and Outreach Coordinator?

Hearing firsthand from teachers, students and parents about the difference our programs make in their students' lives. There is no better feeling than walking into a room of students excited and passionate about learning.

Learn more about Ms. Carina Reeves’ NAVFACE EXWC’s 2021 Civilian of the Year selection here.

Congratulations to Carina! This is a well-deserved recognition!


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