WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (NNS) -- Junior ROTC cadets from six Chicago Public Schools military academies were provided an opportunity to visit Purdue University's campus and engage with undergraduates, faculty, staff, and representatives of the Navy ROTC program Nov. 18.
Twenty-five cadets from Chicago's Air Force Academy High School, George W. Carver Military Academy, Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville, Marine Math and Science Academy, Phoenix Military Academy, and Hyman G. Rickover Naval Academy were hosted by Purdue's College of Engineering's Minority Engineering Program.
The joint outing highlighted the world-class engineering programs and facilities at Purdue University, and allowed Junior ROTC cadets to engage and connect with Navy ROTC midshipmen and instructors in an effort to motivate these cadets to apply for admissions to Purdue and Navy scholarships.
The MEP put together a program for the cadets that included a luncheon with freshmen undergraduates and staff that focused on the importance of diversity at Purdue, especially in the College of Engineering. Additionally, the program included an orientation to the university's online application process and a pizza party with freshmen undergraduates and the heads of the various engineering departments.
Anil K. Bajaj, head of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, encouraged the cadets to "Develop a passion around whatever it is you decide to major in. Look for intellectual challenges. If you have a passion for learning, then the field of engineering provides a great foundation for learning how to learn new things. Being able to learn new things is important in this ever-changing and highly technological world."
During their visit with midshipmen and instructors at the Department of Naval Science, the cadets were briefed about the various high-tech jobs available to graduates from the Navy ROTC program. The instructors presented video vignettes and answered questions about the nuclear power, surface warfare, aviation, special warfare, and nursing programs.
At the end of the Navy ROTC presentation Capt. Eugene W. Jones, professor of Naval Science at Purdue University, offered some sage words of advice to the cadets.
"I'm telling you, 'This isn't your grandpa's Navy,'" said Jones. "This is an organization that looks forward. This is an organization that is modern. This is an organization that believes in developing its people. This is an organization that believes in diversity and having you maximize your individual talents to the fullest extent possible. We need you to study the sciences, technology, engineering, and math because we believe that to be a war-fighter today you have to be capable-from a technical point of view, to operate the technologically advanced ships, aircraft, and systems that we use", Jones said.
For Cadet Jamie Rosas from Caver Military Academy, "Coming to Purdue today was eye opening. I didn't know there were a variety of majors in engineering. I thought engineering was just a major in college that you took all four years. Now I know I can major in a variety of fields, and how far majoring in engineering can take you. For example, you can major in chemical engineering and go on to medical school which is something I really want to do."
Virginia Booth-Gleghorn, director of the Minority Engineering Program at Purdue University, "This was great opportunity for Purdue University to showcase our first-class engineering programs to a select group of Junior ROTC cadets. I believe that this is the first of many such trips that will allow us an opportunity to build a pipeline for future minority engineering undergraduate students who will also want to serve in the United States Navy."
Field trips for high school students and joint partnerships like this underscore the Navy's complete understanding that in a global--knowledge-based economy, innovative problem solving will come from mastery of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Solving our nation's complex problems, ranging from health, energy, and the environment, to security and sustainable well-being is of vital importance. It has been noted that our nation cannot meet these challenges and succeed in this global economy unless our educational system provides every student with essential competencies in STEM and prepares a larger number of students for STEM-competent leadership in business, government and the STEM professions.
STEM education is an important focus for the Navy, because it produces knowledge and innovation in the technical areas of weaponry, logistical support, communications and intelligence, and medicine, which gives technical pre-eminence to naval forces, and contributes to its robust scientific and engineering workforce.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp-diversity/.