Friday, February 27, 2015

Professional Luncheon Brings Officers and Graduating Midshipmen Together

By MC3 Nathan Wilkes

Officers and first class midshipmen came together Wednesday to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class during a professional luncheon at Buchanan House.

The event, hosted by the Naval Academy’s Joy Bright Hancock Organization (JBHO), gives a unique opportunity for midshipmen to mingle with officers from around the Yard, reflect on their journey thus far and to learn more about the adventure that awaits them in the fleet.

“This event is essentially an opportunity for us to congratulate the women of the graduating class and welcome them to the officer community,” said Lt. Erica Reid-Dixon, USNA officer representative for JBHO. “A wide variety of officers and supporters are also here today to to offer the midshipmen any insight, advice and support that they may need before graduating and commissioning.”

More than 100 midshipmen attended the luncheon this year, which highlights the beginning of a wide variety of events scheduled for Women’s History Month in March.

“This is the ninth year that JBHO has hosted a First Class Women’s Luncheon and I believe that it is one of our more impactful events during the year,” said Midn. 1st Class Hope Jones, president of JBHO. “We’re about to hit the fleet in a few short months and this event provides us with an opportunity to network, meet female officers in our service community and to discuss what life is like as a female officer in the military.”

For this year’s Women’s History Month, JBHO plans to work on building camaraderie between the female officers on the Yard and female midshipman as well as discuss the future of women’s role in the military.

“Having camaraderie between the female officers on the Yard and the female midshipman is very important,” said Midn. 2nd Class Christina Lanier, vice president of JBHO. “At the Naval Academy, we have the advantage of having such a wealth of experience to pull from, and events like these give us an opportunity to reach out, connect, and make those last points of mentorship before graduation and commissioning.”

The Joy Bright Hancock Organization began as the only women’s organization at the U. S. Naval Academy, and has since expanded to engage in gender-neutral issues. Though its mission has adapted over time, it continues to bring female midshipmen together to discuss and address issues related to balancing personal and career choices.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Letter to My Former Self: ENS Elizabeth Miller ('14)

In the "Letter to My Former Self" series, USNA graduates lay out the advice they would give themselves as midshipmen based on their experiences as junior officers in the Navy or Marine Corps. This week's letter was written by ENS Elizabeth Miller, a surface warfare officer and 2014 graduate. 

Dear MIDN Miller,

It might seem like it's a long way away, but commissioning will be here before you know it and the next thing you know you'll be nearly six months into your first division officer tour! As excited as you are to leave Mother B behind and begin your new life as a big, bad ensign take some time to enjoy what you have while you can. The friends (and maybe not-so-friends) you've made over the last four years won't be a quick chop away, and you'll go from getting the plebes to do your bidding to having a real say in what your Sailors do and accomplish on any given day.

Hang on to pro-know, and try and get as much out of your Luce Hall classes as you can because you'll wish you had later on. Stop by the laundry center, and get any uniform items you might be missing while they are still free, and if you need anything hemmed or altered take it over to 7th Wing!

Spend a little extra time with your sponsor family and if you've never made the 45 minute drive into DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival make it a point to get out there at least once before you go.

Some things I've learned that you might not realize at first but really mean a lot:

- Your guys work really hard, and no matter what else you might have going on, make time to spend some time with them, see what they do, and get to know them. If you come in early and stay late, it may take time but it doesn't go unnoticed.

- Make friends with Supply. As a new Divo (especially if you get put in Engineering, like I did) you'll spend a lot of time routing and running CASREPS, checking on parts, and getting everything together for your work centers' 3M, and Supply can make or break you with a lot of that.

- Be genuine. If you're not being true to yourself or your Sailors and showing a genuine interest in their wellbeing, you're not doing your job.

Enjoy what time you have left because you'll never get it back! We spend so much time looking forward to what's ahead we forget to enjoy the now, even if it doesn't seem that enjoyable at the time. You might not think that you'd ever find yourself down in the pit, several decks below the rest of the sleeping crew at 0200 wiping oil off the engines, running on 5 hours of sleep in the last 3 days, for an inspection that determines the fate of the ship (and loving every minute of it), but just wait; it's coming.

Best wishes,
ENS Elizabeth Miller
Main Propulsion Officer, USS ASHLAND

Monday, February 23, 2015

USNA Hosts STEM Educator Training

By MC3 Nathan Wilkes

The U.S. Naval Academy's (USNA) Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program hosted a STEM Educator Training Workshop for K-12 teachers Saturday, Feb. 21, in Rickover and Michelson Hall.

More than 70 STEM educators participated in the day-long event. USNA Midshipmen and faculty provided a hands-on and project-based learning experience in topics such as design, bioterrorism, physics and mechanics, applied math, alternative energy, computer programming and cryptography, and engineering.

"Today we have formal educators of elementary, middle, and high schools from as far away as Chicago and Memphis, as well as teachers from Maryland, and they are rotating through project-based learning modules in STEM topics," said Angela Moran, USNA professor of mechanical engineering and STEM Outreach director. "The educators rotate through three of five offered modules this morning and in the afternoon they will learn about engineering design and focus on putting that into practice in their classrooms."

One of the main goals of the STEM Educator Training Workshop is to increase instructor excitement for learning STEM topics so that they may share what they have learned with their students.

“The more enthusiasm that they can apply in the classroom, the more excited the students will be about math, science, and technology,” said Lt. Cdr. Tim Shivok, USNA physics instructor. “The United States needs more teachers that teach math and science so that we can develop people that will study these fields in the future.”

The day-long workshop offered K-12 teachers an opportunity to engage more fully in their educational fields by exploring and testing ideas in a creative and hands-on environment.

“It’s a great experience because the facilitators can make the workshop apply to each of the different grade levels and the learning topics are very diverse,” said Helen Shields, biology teacher at Crofton Meadows Elementary. “I think that it’s great that this free opportunity is offered to educators and that it’s able to give us a different perspective of STEM topics.”

The culminating event of the workshop was an engineering design competition. During the competition, the teachers formed groups and were tasked with designing a STEM project for their classrooms that incorporated the educational tools and lessons that they learned from the modules earlier in the day.

“This experience has been very eye-opening for me because I’m seeing many aspects of different STEM programs that I can take back to my own students,” said Ultra Vaughn, freshman biology instructor from Chicago, IL. “The modules were very fun and I think the kids would really get into some of the ideas that I have seen today.”

"We tell the teachers that the most infectious way of teaching is to learn right along with their students," said Moran. "When they are excited about what they are doing, the kids can see the difference and pick up on it."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

USNA Hosts First African American Marines

The Midshipmen Black Studies Group hosted members of the first African American Marine Corps recruits, also known as the Montford Point Marines, at the United States Naval Academy, Feb. 19.

The guests shared their personal stories of their integration into the Marine Corps, as well as their time serving in WWII, with midshipmen, faculty and staff.

“We didn’t know what to expect, we didn't really know what we would become or how hard the Marine Corps was,” said Franklin Beaird, a Montford Point Marine. “We learned, at least, you'd become a man of steel. You began to understand that if there was any obstacle, if you can't go through it, you're going to make sure that you’re going to over it.” 

On June 25, 1941, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802, which barred government agencies and federal contractors from refusing employment in industries engaged in defense production on the basis of race, creed, color, and/or national origin. Thus, the order required the armed services, including the Marine Corps, to recruit and enlist African Americans.

In 1942, President Roosevelt established presidential directive #8802, giving African Americans an opportunity to be recruited into the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the last of the U.S. military services to be racially integrated. African American Marines were segregated, attending basic training at Montford Point, North Carolina. Approximately 2,000 African American Marines received basic training at Montford Point between 1942 and 1949. These men were drafted into military service to fight in WWII. Exactly a year later, the first African American men volunteered to begin boot camp at the segregated Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C. 1,200 men began their new journey that day while knowing their nation was at war. 

“Life in my hometown was pretty difficult,” said Lee Douglas Jr., a Montford Point Marine. “You couldn't do, couldn't go to and couldn't belong to many things. I thank God that I volunteered to join the USMC and I served my country, and I made it back alive.”

Between 1942 and 1949, Camp Montford Point trained more than 20,000 black recruits. 

“We all came together as a group, we were all drafted and didn't think of the future.” said William Foreman, Montford Point Marine. “We knew there was a war you see? We all stood tall and lived in the now. We didn't think that we would be making history. The times and the war; it changed us, and the USMC is an outstanding part of us.

Midshipmen reflected on what the Montford Point Marines meant for not only African Americans, but all minorities. 

“I think they have paved the way for diversity in general,” said Midshipman 1st Class Shakir Robinson, “Whether it's race, gender or religious background, diversity is what makes America strong. To have these Marines come to the Academy to share their experiences really affects us all. One of the best things about celebrating Black History Month, along with all of the multicultural celebrations, is we get all get to celebrate our individual differences, as one unit.”

In July of 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 negating segregation. In September of 1949, Camp Montford Point was deactivated to allow black recruits to receive basic training at Parris Island and Camp Pendleton.

In 2012, the Marine Corps honored more than 400 Montford Point Marines with the Congressional Gold Medal for their sacrifices for their nation.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mids Teach STEM Workshops to Dallas Students

By Rylan Tuohy

“Our goal isn’t to convince students to come to the Naval Academy, our goal is to expose students to the awesomeness of STEM,” said MIDN 2/C Zachary Dannelly to a group of middle school students at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month.

Dannelly and seven other midshipmen - MIDN 2/C Rachel Busiek, Max Goldwasser, Peter Guo, Megan Hough, Hunter Lampp, Luke Riewestahl, and Rylan Tuohy - traveled to Dallas to work with 125 students from Greiner Middle School and Balch Springs Middle School in areas of cyber, cryptography, fluids, and hydraulics.

The midshipmen represented the U.S. Naval Academy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Center.

Naval Academy graduate John Young (USNA '78), president and CEO of a Dallas-based energy company also spoke to the participating students. Emphasizing the importance of STEM, Young talked about his time at the Academy, his military career, and how his studies in STEM topics prepared him for the future.

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science opened their state-of-the-art facilities for the eight midshipmen to lead classrooms of hands-on modules and interactive lessons in order to excite kids about STEM. In the cyber and cryptography lab, Guo and Goldwasser played interactive games about binary numbers. In the fluids and hydraulics lab, Busiek and Hough led buoyancy modules with students, attempting to solve the question "Why do steel ships float?"

The USNA STEM Center is focused on addressing an urgent national need for more young people to pursue careers in STEM fields. USNA faculty, like Professors Rachel Hetlyn and Jennifer Da Rosa, and midshipmen provide STEM outreach to local and national communities in an attempt to engage and influence students and teachers. Through events like these, midshipmen learn outside the classroom.

“The challenge is how to teach complex ideas on a basic level,” said Dannelly. “By overcoming that challenge and working with the students, we learn too.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mids Lend a Hand in King Hall

By MIDN 1/C Jonathan Bangsal

Because of yesterday's snow and the inability of of some staff members to get to the Yard, the King Hall staff was undermanned. The Naval Academy's Filipino-American Club, Japanese-American Club and other members of the Brigade - led by MIDN 1/C Karen Jackson - organized a working party prior to lunch to help the reduced staff efficiently feed 4,500 midshipmen.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Seven Mids for Four Months in Morocco

Every semester as a midshipman is unique, but for the five 2/C and two 1/C abroad in Morocco this past fall that was especially so.  The main purpose of such travel is typically language acquisition, and while a great deal of study did go on, the cross-cultural exposure was significantly more challenging and educational.

The opportunity to study and use Arabic everyday while living in Morocco’s capital Rabat stretched everyone’s linguistic ability, but communication is much more than simply speech.  Through many incredible shared and individual experiences the semester abroad developed these future officers’ understanding of the North African people, language and culture.

This past semester abroad was MIDN 2/C Marc Prather’s first experience living in a foreign country. The exposure helped him gain insight into daily life in a Muslim country. Apart from mouthwatering food, breathtaking scenery and remarkable hospitality, Marc’s most memorable experience was Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday that involves the sacrifice of a sheep.

“Participating in Eid is something I will never forget,” he said. “Like any holiday, the day is spent with family and filled with many customs. Although the actual sacrifice was rather nauseating, I found the rest of the celebration fascinating. The most interesting part was witnessing such an important religious holiday for a different culture and learning about their traditions.”

Every day in Morocco was a new adventure and Marc believes the semester will prove to be an invaluable asset in his future academic studies and throughout his career.

A four day hike in late September proved an especially challenging and enjoyable experience for five of the midshipmen.

“My most memorable experience was trekking through the M'goun range in the Atlas Mountains,” said MIDN 2/C Zofia Stark. “We were so excited that not even having inadequate equipment could stop us from hiking the trail from beginning to finish.”

They feasted on MIDN 2/C Ethan Dalton's homemade oatmeal, ramen noodles with hot sauce, and pasta every day. On the second night of the trek, they were fortunate enough to stay at a refuge house at the base of the M'goun summit where they shared a berthing with fifteen German men and about ten Moroccan men. On the last part of the trail, they hiked through small Amazigh villages and were even able to hitchhike on top of a Mercedes minibus to their final destination.

Life in Rabat was full of many unique opportunities for each of the students there.  MIDN 2/C Elizabeth Warner’s best memories relate to her time riding horses in Dar Eslam. She was able to experience an aspect of Moroccan culture through her favorite activity: equestrian. She faced the challenge of taking a lesson in a mixture of French and Arabic as well as the challenge of different riding styles. At this barn, she made a Moroccan friend, Marouane, who connected her to the master boot maker for the Moroccan cavalry. She was able to purchase custom riding boots for a great price. The boots will forever serve as a reminder of the incredible time she had riding wonderful Moroccan ponies.

All of the midshipmen lived with host families in the old city of Rabat.  Its narrow alleys, open market, and busy gates were a movie-set like backdrop to their daily adventures.

MIDN 1/C Benjamin Demandante relates an interesting story:

“One night, I was lying in my bed unable to sleep due to the heat.  Just as I was dozing off, I heard loud, percussive music drifting up from the streets outside my house. Curious and restless, I decided to leave my hosts' house to investigate. I eventually found a group of musicians performing what I would later learn is called Gnawan music. A large crowd had gathered to watch them, and followed as they capered down the street. Finally, the crowd came to the outer wall of a home and the door was opened. I balked at the entrance, unsure if I was welcome or not. However, the crowd beckoned me in emphatically, speaking only darija (Moroccan Arabic) but with very welcoming gestures. So there I was, at one in the morning, in some strange family's home, watching Gnawan musicians perform for a celebration that I did not understand.”

It was an experience that will stay with Ben for a long time.

The midshipmen attended daily classes at the Institution for the International Education of Students (IES Abroad) in Rabat, but learning continued long after the school day was done.

“I learned more through interaction with Moroccans that I ever could in the classroom,” said MIDN 2/C Justice Constantine.

The midshipmen agree that their visit to the US Embassy in Rabat and visits with DOD personnel working there were particularly rewarding. They are very grateful to the Naval Attach̩ and Foreign Area Officers there who took the time to explain the work they do Рjobs these midshipmen could one day hold.

“From attending events at the U.S. Embassy to surfing at the local break in Rabat, the experiences I had were unique and exciting to the location,” said MIDN 1/C Thomas Bond. “The Moroccan friends I made while abroad widened my perspective and understanding of life in the Middle East.”

The exposure to a new culture and people was the greatest reward of the midshipmen’s time in Morocco.  They had countless adventures, saw dozens of incredible places, and formed many special friendships.  This broadening of perspective will serve them well in careers as Naval or Marine Corps officers.

“The lessons learned in Morocco form a basis for cross-cultural relations and thoughtful leadership whether we serve at home in the U.S. or anywhere the Fleet might take us,” said MIDN 2/C Ethan Dalton.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Recent Talks by USNA Superintendent VADM Ted Carter

USNA Superintendent VADM Ted Carter gave a talk Jan. 9 on developing leaders of consequence at the the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Ted Carter was invited to be the keynote speaker at the 27th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards hosted by Anne Arundel County Martin Luther King Jr. Committee. These awards recognize community members whose work and actions reflect the mission of Dr. King’s legacy.

Midshipman Travels to Antarctic Peninsula With "Students on Ice"

By MIDN 2/C Paige Ward

Over Christmas break, I had the opportunity to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula with the Canadian based organization called Students on Ice, whose purpose is to lead international students on educational expeditions to the Polar Regions. I was the sole midshipman traveling with a team of approximately 80 other students, polar scientists, researchers, explorers, and historians from around the world.

 I participated in this program because of my interests in scientific research and maritime operations in the Polar Regions, as well as to gain multicultural scientific exposure. My experience was funded by the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, whose goal is to provide students in their undergraduate careers with unique and influential educational opportunities.

I left on Christmas day and traveled to Ushuaia, Argentina, in Tierra del Fuego, the most southern city in the world, where I attended lectures and workshops and united with the expedition team.

We headed down the Beagle Channel and across the Drake Passage in the Argentinian research vessel, the M/V Ushuaia. The ship had an open bridge policy, so I had the chance to discuss Antarctic navigation and charting with the crew. I also had the opportunity to compare civilian maritime operations with those used in the military.

The first destination was Elephant Island, where Sir Earnest Shackleton's crew was stranded for four months during the 1914 Endurance expedition. Over the course of one week, I also visited Brown Bluff, the northernmost tip of the Antarctic continent; the Argentinian Research Station Esperanza; an abandoned whaling station at Deception Island; and a historic United Kingdom base, Port Lockroy. While at Deception Island, I had the chance to speak with Royal Navy officers aboard the ice patrol ship HMS Protector.

My days usually consisted of two Zodiac landings, with an interdisciplinary curriculum of lectures, workshops, and an introduction to field-based research. Research topic areas included oceanography, climatology, glaciology, and remote sensing. Some examples of specific research conducted included ice-cap GPS mapping, ice core sampling, marine biology studies, and CTD casting and analysis.

Overall, this expedition was both extremely informative and impactful. This trip gave me the opportunity to witness to both civilian and military maritime operations in the Polar Regions, as well as provided me exposure to a variety of academic disciplines. The perspective gained from this opportunity as well as the connections made with inspirational students and educators from around the world will be unforgettable.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

USNA Hosts Chinese Naval Officers

Twenty-nine Chinese naval officers were given a guided tour of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Monday, Feb. 2.

The tour was a mutual effort, established by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, and Chinese Naval Chief, Wu Shengli, to improve and gain a better understanding of each other's Navy and in the future to help prevent miscalculation between the U.S. and China naval forces.

"The officers are here to visit the area and see what the U.S. Navy has to offer," said Cmdr. George Kessler, Asia-Pacific Section Chief. "The whole goal is that we increase each other's familiarity with one another so that when we are out to sea and we're picking up bridge to bridge communications, we are aware of who is on the other end and have a common background to communicate with one another."

While touring the academy, the delegation met Vice Adm. Ted Carter, Naval Academy superintendent, and Capt. Bill Byrne, commandant of Midshipmen. The officers had the opportunity to have lunch with midshipmen in King Hall. After lunch the group visited midshipmen classrooms 

"I am enjoying the tour of the Naval Academy very much," said Ensign Yin Xin, Chinese naval officer. "It is a very beautiful place and I have learned a lot about the history of your navy from our tour here. The U.S. Naval Academy looks very different from the Chinese academy but we learn similar things." 

The Chinese delegation included 29 operational officers covering all backgrounds throughout China including, commanding officers, executive officers, operations specialists submariners, and aviators.

After their tour of the academy, they headed to the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, Rhode Island, where, "they are going to work with surface warfare officer [instructors] and focus on operational safety issues, ship handling, bride to bridge communications, code for unanticipated encounters at sea," added Kessler.

According to Kessler, a delegation of American naval officers is scheduled to travel to China later this year for a continuation of the goodwill effort.

"The plan is to send a delegation of prospective commanding officers to increase communication and military relationships between the U.S. and China," said Kessler.

The Naval Academy has a number of exchange opportunities available to midshipmen interested in foreign language and culture. A midshipman may apply for a short overseas language and culture immersion program and/or a one-semester language abroad program, subsidized by the International Programs Office. These enrichment programs greatly improve the participants' language levels and their cultural understanding and awareness, leading to high-placement in language courses and validation of certain required courses for the major. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mids Recognized at Annapolis Town Hall Meeting

Several midshipmen from the Midshipman Action Group were recently recognized for their work with local school-age students at a Town Hall Meeting with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

"What an amazing opportunity to not only hear Secretary Arne Duncan speak and explain the state of the education system but to also listen to the parents of children in the Anne Arundel school system and the endeavors they face every day," said MIDN 3/C Kevin  McGinty. "Being able to hear the frustrations of parents and the insight of Secretary Duncan only filled my passion for education even more."

MAG midshipmen with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
More than 200 midshipmen participate in the Mids for Kids program each year, volunteering their free time throughout the week to visit local elementary and middle schools. The mids read to kindergarten classes, attend physical education classes with students and do one-on-one tutoring in a variety of subjects.

"Mids for Kids is also an opportunity for midshipmen to be a solid role model and mentor for kids that are at such a crucial age in their development," said McGinty. "I've seen kids get overlooked because they are deemed a lost cause, so I just try and make whatever difference I can because I know first hand what that can feel like."

The midshipmen recognized at the Town Hall Meeting work with students at Bates Middle School in Annapolis.

"Volunteering in a community that fully embodies the sentiment that it takes a whole village to raise a child is exceptionally rewarding," said MIDN 2/C Gavin Fuller. "It is truly an honor to be involved with the Mids for Kids program."

Listening to the parents and Secretary Duncan at the Town Hall meeting gave the midshipmen an idea of how important their work is to the community.

"I was amazed by how much community involvement can affect a school, whether it be a parent who is involved in their children's education, or a midshipman helping out in the classroom. I had no idea that Mids for Kids had such a large effect on schools, and it gives me a feeling of fulfillment knowing that I am a part of this program that is working for something much larger than I had anticipated," said MIDN 3/C Drew Brenn.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Midshipman Coauthors, Presents Published Research

While other U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) midshipmen spent their summer training with sailors and Marines around the fleet, one midshipman was holding her own at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California.

During a month-long internship at NPS, Midshipman 2nd Class Allison Hunt worked with Marine Corps Capt. John Roth, U.S. Naval Academy senior instructor, to develop new and novel ways to locate mobile subscribers in cellular networks.

“One of the great things about these types of projects is that they have real world applications,” said Roth. “These projects will have an immediate and real effect on the world at large.”

Currently, emergency and rescue services rely on tracing locations of mobile callers with GPS, which relies on line-of-sight environments for accurate locations. This can be a problem if calls are placed in a high density area or from a building with multiple floors where line-of-sight is not possible. The research Hunt has been working on enables these services to narrow the search by using a mathematical model to predict the local radio propagation characteristic so responders can better determine the precise location of a call.

“The basic idea behind the method we used to try to find someone in a non-line of sight environment is called ‘fingerprinting’,” said Hunt. “The idea in fingerprinting is to make a map of what the received signals from each base station look like at a bunch of different points in space. Then, given an observation of a bunch of different signal strengths, you try to match the observation to a location on the map you collected beforehand.”

“She worked on the project for about 4 weeks,” said Roth. “That involved learning specific computer programming language in which she had little experience with beforehand. It is truly amazing how much she learned in such a short time and how quickly she is able to pick up new concepts.”

For the research, Hunt modeled a number of situations using a simulated cellular environment created from a computer program called MATLAB (Matrix Laboratory). Hunt’s simulations included people traveling in vehicles down some of the interstates in the San Jose, California area. The goal was to locate a particular target and track their movement within the cellular environment.

“The model we are using right now assumes that everything stays the same in terms of traffic, movement, and time of day,” said Hunt. “It’s an issue that will need to be addressed during the implementation.”

Hunt continued her research through the fall semester in an independent research course at the electrical engineering department. The ideas she is developing to further the project will have ubiquitous applications for marketing, advertisement and disaster relief efforts.

“The fact that she is an undergraduate student and an author of a paper being published is a huge accomplishment,” said Roth. “I was lucky to have her as an intern and when I gave her the context of the project, she ran with it from there.”

Midn. Hunt has taken a lot that she has learned as a growing naval officer and invested it into the project. According to Roth, she has shown a great measure of adaptability and it is a testament to this institution that we can produce leaders that are adaptable. She has demonstrated that by taking a problem that she had not seen before, in a setting she was unfamiliar with, and within the course of 4 weeks, worked to a proficient level.

“It’s been a blessing to have the opportunity to work with Captain Roth and to be included as a coauthor in the paper,” said Hunt. “I am really excited to have the chance to go to this conference and learn while I’m there.”

After getting published, Hunt and Roth had the opportunity to attend the 48th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) to present their work Jan. 5 - 8.

The HICSS is a prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conference and one of the longest-standing continuously running scientific conferences that brings researchers from more than 40 countries together to exchange of scientific ideas. The conference enables further research on a mixture of computer-based applications and technologies and includes three days of research paper presentations and discussions in a workshop setting that promotes interaction leading to additional research. Paper presentations and discussions frequently lead to revised and extended papers that are published in journals, books, and special issues.

“I'm happy to say that Midshipman Hunt's research was well received by those also presenting at the conference that are all certainly senior to her,” said Roth. “If she wasn't the only undergraduate student there presenting, she was certainly in the minority. Given this, her poise and ability to articulate technically sophisticated ideas to an international audience is all the more impressive.”
Attending the conference marks a major milestone for Hunt by presenting the work she's done over the summer and through the fall semester. The focus of this semester will be an application for a Bowman Scholarship.

Each year the Bowman Scholar Program selects up to twenty-five second-class midshipmen applicants who show significant academic, leadership and research potential in their undergraduate work, who are willing to commit to nuclear service.

“I'm convinced the research model Midshipman Hunt is pioneering is an ideal venue for developing the attributes we are looking for in a USNA graduate,” said Roth. “In addition to affording the Naval Academy international recognition in research circles, Midshipman Hunt has taken immense strides in building technical proficiency, innovative thinking, and adaptable problem solving while concurrently fostering her ability to articulate complex ideas both in written and spoken word.”

At the Naval Academy, faculty members with expertise in many areas mentor midshipmen and facilitate their development as scientists, engineers, or scholars.  Funding for midshipmen projects and travel is provided through several sources, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

“I’ve been very fortunate and have had a lot of people helping me during the whole process,” said Hunt. “I’m really thankful for this opportunity, blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and excited to see where it goes from here.”

Thursday, February 5, 2015

USNA Welcomes Back First Black Female Graduate

The U.S. Naval Academy held a luncheon celebrating African American/Black History Month with special guest, Janie Mines, Feb. 2, in King Hall.

Mines was the first black female to graduate from the Naval Academy.

"It was challenging and lonely at times," said Mines. "I had to deal with difficult situations. It made me a better person, and I am hoping I helped make the Naval Academy a better place."

Mines, a 1980 graduate, was also part of the class that had the first female graduates.

"Once I graduated from here I felt prepared to deal with almost any challenge that may come my way," said Mines. "I have done a lot of different things in my life, and I have never had anything as challenging as this was. I am glad I did it and happy to be a part of the Naval Academy family."

Mines was appointed by South Carolina Congressman, Butler Derrick, to be part of the first class of women to attend the Naval Academy in 1976. On a visit back to the academy in 2000, she recalled seeing how much had changed from when she was a midshipman.

"It actually brought tears to my eyes just to see all those girls; to see so many women," said Mines. "There were just a few women here when I went to school at the academy. To see so many females here and thriving is very emotional for me."

Mines continues to provide the next generation of the Navy's leaders with encouragement and mentorship.

"I met Miss Mines last year when I became the president of the Black Studies Club," said Midshipmen 2nd Class Andre Evans. "Miss. Mines has been a mentor to me, helping me out when I need it and motiving me to stay strong. She is like a second mother to me, and to other black midshipmen."

This year the Naval Academy's Black History Month celebration kicked off with a gospel choir concert Sunday and a luncheon in King Hall Monday.

Later this month The Black Studies Club will hold a number of events like: a leadership diversity panel, "Life in the Military as a Minority", where they have invited O-6 officers from the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force to come and talk about being a minority in the military in Rickover Hall; In the Shoes of Montford Point Marines in Rickover Hall, the Black History Month Banquet at Alumni Hall and a Poetry Luncheon in the Chesapeake Room in Bancroft Hall.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

USNA Organizes "Make It Back Home" Night

The U.S. Naval Academy Alcohol and Drug Program partnered with a local restaurant to host “Make it Back Home” night Jan. 30.

The event, held at local Annapolis restaurant Galway Bay, was designed to help promote responsible drinking within the Brigade of Midshipmen by encouraging them to make a plan and stick to it and reminding them to take care of one another at all times.

“I think the Galway Bay night is a great way to encourage a safe environment of responsible social drinking,” said LT Katherine Jensen, USNA Alcohol and Drug Education (ADEO) Officer. “The event emphasizes safe drinking principles of drinking with trusted friends, eating food and drinking water, avoiding liquor, and limiting the number of drinks you have.”

The program helps midshipmen remember the simple concepts of going out with a group of people that you trust, knowing where you will be going and what you will be drinking, and having someone step up and take responsibility for their fellow midshipmen.

“We are told over and over again facts about alcohol and read scenarios about when a night of liberty went completely wrong,” said Midshipman 1st Class Elizabeth Shields, brigade alcohol and drug education officer. “It's easy to hear words, but once you have practiced doing the right thing, that is when it sticks into your memory and helps guide future decisions.”

Shields came up with the idea after soliciting establishments in downtown Annapolis for help in establishing an event that promotes responsible drinking.

“The manager at Galway Bay was very interested in talking about ways to promote a safe drinking culture,” said Shields. “[He] was the person responsible for suggesting the 'Make it Back Home' event that rewards people who actively practice the idea of drinking responsibly."  

The event is designed to reward responsible drinking by offering discount prices on food to groups that follow four tenants of responsible drinking: being in a group of four or more people, drinking only beer or wine, drinking water continuously throughout the night, and choosing a designated non-drinking person to make decisions for the group.

“We have a hard time defining ‘having a plan’ or ‘drinking responsibly,’ but people do these things all the time, and may not even know it,” said Shields. “While exposing a new culture to some, this event could also act to reinforce a responsible drinking culture that some people already adhere to.”

The goal of the ADEO program is to promote responsible use of alcohol and encourage midshipmen to watch for each other.  Responsible drinking is enforced at USNA by making everyone accountable for each other’s actions.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Art of 360-Degree Mentorship

By MIDN 2/C Olivia Trevorrow

Engage. Enable. Envision. Yard Patrol Craft Squadron Pennant 1's guiding principles.

Commanding officer of Pennant 1, MIDN 2/C Andrew Bell, has trekked across mountain ranges (both literally and figuratively), completed the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, and has come a long way from his position as a consistent bearing taker two years ago.

MIDN Bell wished to implement change in the squadron and make the experience more well-rounded for its members.

“I didn't like how I was constantly one position for the entirety of my plebe year in YP Squadron,” he said.

MIDN Bell stayed SWOtivated and now is in charge of how his own pennant operates, emphasizing a greater and broadened experience for all of the midshipman crew.

MIDN Bell’s vision of engaging, enabling, and envisioning came to life on his first distance transit of the semester as CO.

Pennant 1 recently made the transit to Philadelphia in both daytime and nighttime conditions. In the first few hours of the Movement Order, from 2300 to 0330, MIDN 4/C Julie Dejnozka was conning. During the second half of the transit, a brand new 2/C affiliate of YP squadron (myself), who had never before seen the northern Chesapeake or Delaware River, took the conn with the assistance of MIDN Bell, MIDN 2/C James Brisotti, and MIDN 3/C Christian Jaunich, two seasoned veterans of YP Squadron.

Throughout the transit, the CO ensured that everyone, from the bearing takers to the helm and lee helm, was able to experience a variety of positions on the bridge. The officers and chiefs led the more experienced members of YP Squadron, and they in turn led the newcomers.

Before the transit to Philadelphia, LCDR Ryan Rogers, the operations officer in the Seamanship and Navigation Department, asserted the importance of positional authority. On Pennant 2, Coast Guard LT Timothy Bonner was the officer in charge, and LCDR Noble Hetherington was the assistant OIC. An O-4 was under an O-3 in the chain of command, again underlining the sentiment of all-around mentorship.

On the transit from Philadelphia to Annapolis, the same plebe MIDN Dejnozka, conned Pennant 1, while a 3/C and 2/C worked under her on lee helm and as navigators. Though MIDN Dejnozka had been in YP Squadron half as long as her subordinates on the watch team, she was driving the ship.

Commandant of Midshipmen CAPT William Byrne emphasizes a brigade-wide training vision of "4,500 training 4,500," in a 360-degree training program. The first-, second-, and third-class mids are involved in the plebes' training and the plebes are just as important to the professional development of the upperclass.

The same holds true for Pennant 1. The newcomers are just as essential of a part as the more experienced members, and the veteran mids and staff take away a great deal from instructing and leading the novice members.

As Aristotle concluded simply, “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.”

Monday, February 2, 2015

USNA Alumnus Celebrates 100th Birthday

The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) hosted a 1935 academy graduate on the yard, Jan. 30, for a tour and birthday celebration.

Rear Adm. (ret) Edgar “Ed” Keats toured the rotunda at Bancroft Hall and then Memorial Hall, before arriving at King Hall where the entire brigade of midshipmen sang happy birthday to him.

“This is a wonderful day for me,” said Keats. ”It is my 100th birthday, but I don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday. It just comes up on you gradually.” Keats was born on January 30, 1915 in Chicago. He was appointed to the USNA from Illinois in 1931 and graduated in 1935. While at USNA, he participated on the gymnastics team for all four years. During his 1/C year, the gymnastics team beat Newark, Princeton, MIT and Dartmouth, but lost to Temple. Keats was listed as a mustering petty officer within the brigade during his 1/C year.

According to Courtney Jolley, assistance director of communication for the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, as a midshipman, he was the class president of the class of 1935. As an alumnus, he also became class president of the class of 1934.

“He also took the responsibility of the class president for the class of 1934 after the original class president took ill. They were both close friends, said Jolley. “He has worked with the Alumni as an advocate for his classmates and fellow alumni for many years.”

After his service aboard ships, Keats received his wings as a Naval Aviator at Pensacola in 1938. During World War II, he was ordered to command Bombing Squadron 16 but after Pearl Harbor, he was sent as chair staff officer to Island and Air Commander, Tarawa. He served as Force Air Officer to the Commander Amphibious Force, Pacific for the invasions of Marinas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1944 and 1945.

“I was part of the group that wrote the aviation portion of the amphibious course plans for the capture,” said Keats. “You just don’t go out there with a lot of people. It takes a lot of planning, and everyone doing their part. I don’t claim that I was a hero. I flatter myself that I helped contribute some little bit to our victory.”

In the late 1940’s, Keats received his M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1953-1955, he served as Director of the Armament Division at NATC Patuxent. From 1959-1970, he was Program Manager of the Electronics Division at Westinghouse. From 1970-1973, he served as Vice President of Urban Systems Development Corporation, and served as President of Standard Dredging Corporation from 1973-1980. ​

“I am proud of my classmates, all 432 of them, because none of us ran away from the enemy,” said Keats. “Not one failed at being in command or doing his job. They all served properly, honorably and in the spirit of the Naval Academy. I think the reason that we did well was because of the culture of the Naval Academy that we embodied. Thanks to the officers and fellow midshipmen we learned from that we were with while at the Naval Academy.”

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Shoutout to Midshipman Sponsor Families

Sponsor Appreciation Week wrapped up Friday night with a dinner for midshipmen and their sponsor families. Midshipmen are thankful for families living in the area that take them in on the weekends and give them a place to stay.

Sponsor parent Pam Tooney and midshipmen

From MIDN 2/C Jessica Yri: "Jim and Pam Toomey do a variety of things for Midshipmen. They never let their Mids go hungry and when their Mids are sick they bring them soup and medicine. During Navy football season, they are busy planning and putting on tailgates for their Mids. Best part of it all is that they treat their Mids as if they were their own children. Thank you for all that you do!"

The Dubinas family with midshipmen they sponsor, including MIDN 2/C
James Hansen.

MIDN 2/C James Hansen's sponsor family, the Dubinas, are family friends who live in Millersville, MD, and have always had more than one midshipman sponsor child while Everett has been part of their sponsor family. “My sponsor family is my family in the truest sense of the word," he said.

Everett spends time there frequently, whenever he can get a break from the Academy. “I am always appreciative of their willingness to open their home to others.”

MIDN 1/C Alec Bacon and his roommate MIDN 1/C Carl Joiner at the Sponsor
Appreciation Dinner with their sponsor dad and sister.