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Naval STEM Superstars: DoD SAQ Award Winner – Ms. Elizabeth Hite

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 21 June 2022

by Alexandra M. Landsberg, Director, Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research | 21 June 2022

Naval STEM is celebrating another Department of Defense (DoD) STEM Advocate of the Quarter (SAQ) winner from the Department of the Navy (DoN), Elizabeth (Libby) Hite. Hite is a STEM program manager at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS), and in this position, her exemplary leadership impacts many.

From October 2020 through September 2021, Hite went above and beyond her expected roles and responsibilities in STEM education and outreach. In the Fall 2020 school year, a particularly challenging time due to the pandemic, she created a weekly STEM program for students in the Kittery, Maine, school system. At the request of the local community center to provide programming for students after school, Hite delivered STEM workshops. She organized 35 volunteers to present age-appropriate STEM-in-the-Box workshops, often stepping in herself to serve as a workshop presenter. This effort culminated with a SeaPerch Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) build. Ultimately, Hite provided 22 workshops to kindergarten through fifth-grade students, impacting 395 students, teachers and parents.

In Spring 2021, Hite organized a self-titled “Bristlebot Blitz” and led virtual Bristlebot—a small vibrating robot that demonstrates the transfer of kinetic energy from the motor through the robot to the ground—builds with remote students across three school districts in Maine and New Hampshire. Hite's Bristlebot Blitz reached close to 500 students.

Good leaders often listen to those they lead and provide leadership that empowers them in their endeavors. Hite went above and beyond as a leader when a STEM volunteer introduced the idea of a STEM Pop Up Event in October 2020. Hite advocated for the project with her leadership and pursued the project to completion with a dry-run on the PNS mall in May 2021.

The STEM Pop Up Event allows PNS to showcase their production trades, engineering departments and the STEM Outreach program in spectacular fashion. The effort is highly impactful as it offers students exploration of careers that do not require college degrees but are meaningful to the DoD. In addition, it allows STEM trades volunteers to demonstrate how the math and science students learn in school directly applies to the work done to overhaul and repair submarines for the Navy.

The first official event was attended by over 450 students learning about nine different STEM career opportunities. Over 3,000 students, parents and educators participated in the STEM Pop Up Event at the Thunder Over New Hampshire Airshow in September 2021. In less than seven months, Hite led the STEM Pop Up Event project from an idea to a tangible product, from a conversation to a functional event platform.

Hite’s efforts are worthy of praise! Efforts like the STEM Pop Up Event fill a gap in connecting students with technical trades that are critical DoN mission needs. Keep up the good work, Libby!

If you would like to learn more about Hite and her STEM efforts, you may attend the DoD Innovator’s Spotlight, where she will present her STEM education and outreach work. This virtual event will be held on Tuesday, July 12, at noon ET and is open to the public. A one-time free registration is required to attend; you may register here:

Naval STEM and the Office of Naval Research are excited to see Libby Hite’s growth in STEM education and outreach, and congratulate her on this well-deserved honor! For those new to the blog series, the Department of the Navy (DoN) has quite a few wins; visit earlier blogs to read about our previous winners!


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