December 6, 2022

Naval Postgraduate School and Naval Postgraduate School Foundation enable STEM education through outreach activities across the Central California Coast


Naval Postgraduate School military students and expert faculty have a rich history of reaching outside the gates to engage and inspire local youth interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The NPS Foundation, true to its mission to support the school’s priorities, consistently facilitates and funds a variety of programs that increase the community impact of NPS with the hope of nurturing the next generation of engineers, research scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists that will impact our nation’s competitive advantage.

In the 2022 fiscal year alone, the NPS Foundation invested over $100,000 in STEAM and community outreach activities to expand opportunities for the NPS community and K-12 students across the Central California Coast.

The Foundation sponsors events such as Discovery Day at NPS, which brings over 2,000 students and teachers from the surrounding communities to enable STEAM interaction and encourage the pursual of STEAM disciplines. This open-campus event features STEAM demonstrations and activities, research lab tours and keynote lectures with inspiring guests, such as NASA Astronaut Capt. Vic Glover, NPS ’09, who gave the 2022 Discovery Day’s keynote address. Discovery Day provides attendees with the opportunity to see firsthand how NPS accomplishes its unique mission of defense-focused graduate education through STEAM curricula. Each year, the NPS Foundation supports the event to help bring a diverse group of students onto campus and encourage them to pursue STEAM disciplines.

The NPS Foundation also sponsors the Rapid Innovation Design Challenge, which debuted during Discovery Day in May 2022. The NPS Foundation supports the challenges with funding, corporate partnership, and educator outreach. With the goal of expanding STEAM opportunities and creating equitable education opportunities across the Central California Coast region, the Rapid Innovation Design Challenge enables NPS student and faculty mentors and industry representatives to work with high school student teams from the local community to create meaningful solutions with global impact.

The Design Challenge encourages high school students to think about, design and develop innovative solutions that unleash the power of technology to solve real problems in their communities. Each challenge has many possible solutions, encourages creative thinking and teamwork, and teaches through engaging in hands-on activities.

NPS is currently running the 2023 Rapid Innovation Design Challenge, which focuses on how workflow process automation can address local climate change challenges. Registration for student and school teams is currently open through February 1, 2023, and the challenge period will run from early February to Mid-May. During this year’s challenge, educators and student teams will engage with NPS warrior-scholar mentors and industry experts from ServiceNow, Carahsoft and ICF in a mutual social exchange that allows for tailored support to facilitate deeper understanding of the challenges addressed through the curricula and engage in scaffolded learning activities.

Interdisciplinary faculty groups from NPS also participate in local STEAM educational efforts including FIRST Robotics Competition, California State University Monterey Bay Camp Sea Life, Monterey County Science and Engineering Fair, and Monterey Peninsula College Marine Advanced Technology Education.

NPS is active in many internship programs that afford high school, undergrad and graduate students the ability to conduct research with NPS’ expert faculty. The school participates in Navy’s Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) and Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) internship programs, which give high school and college students, respectively, the opportunity to participate in research at a Department of Navy laboratory.

Working with the award winning Hartnell NASA-CIPA and NSF-sponsored programs at Hartnell Community College, the Naval Postgraduate School matches undergraduate students who excel in STEM disciplines with NPS research faculty for eight weeks each summer. Hartnell Community College, a Hispanic serving institution, is among the top community colleges in the country in promoting and achieving success for its underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines.

The Naval Postgraduate School Foundation is committed to partnering with the local community to identify and attract young scientists in STEAM fields.

Opportunities like NPS’ Discovery Day, Design Challenges and internships inspire learning and foster creativity in the Central California community from an early age, cultivating a culture of innovation and ensuring our Nation remains the global leader in science and technology discovery and competitiveness. These students are the future leaders who will drive transformation and innovation in these fields, not just for the military, but across a number of industries. We urge you to support the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation’s end of year giving campaign to expand and enhance STEAM education opportunities across the Central California Coast inspiring and emboldening the next generation of scientists, engineers, astronauts, military leaders and more.

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