Thursday, April 30, 2015

Year in Review

As the academic year comes to a close, here are some great memories for the firsties as they prepare to head to the fleet and the rest of the brigade as they depart to enjoy their summer break.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Naval Academy Hosts Banquet for Asian Pacific Islander Month

By MC2 Jonathan Correa

The U.S. Naval Academy hosted an Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month banquet April 28 at the Naval Academy Club.

Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, gave the keynote address.

Harris, a 1978 academy graduate, was born in Japan and raised in Tennessee and Florida. He spoke to the guests about his point of view on diversity in the Navy, how important it is and how it has changed over the years.

“The condition of being different – that’s the dictionary meaning of diversity,” said Harris. “It’s an irony, I suppose, that the military, known for establishing a culture of uniformity, is the same military that embraces our differences and leads in the struggle for diversity.”

Harris said the U.S. is a melting pot of different religions, cultures, ethnic backgrounds and beliefs, and the military reflects that.

“I believe that embracing diversity is vital to both our present and future,” said Harris. “We cannot achieve healthy growth without it. One former CNO rightly said that as leaders, we must not be locked in time – we must anticipate and embrace the demographic changes of tomorrow to build a Navy that always reflects our country’s make up.”

In the Navy, minorities represent almost 50 percent of the enlisted workforce and 22 percent of the officer corps. Approximately 13 percent are flag officers. Within the flag ranks, 91 percent are male and only 9 percent female. Eighty-seven percent are white, with only 6 percent African American, 5 percent Asian Pacific American, and less than 2 percent Latino, but these numbers show how far the Navy has come since Harris was commissioned in 1978, he said.

“We want to welcome every Sailor and Marine into a family they will proudly call their own for the rest of their lives, a family that exists like no other on land, at sea or in the air,” said Harris.

Asians and Pacific Islanders have been serving in our Navy since the 19th century, and they have continued to be at the forefront as leaders in every aspect of American life and in the military.

“I’m proud to be the Navy’s first 4-star admiral of Asian Pacific heritage,” said Harris. “But more than that, I’m proud to be an American on the Navy-Marine Corps team, amongst the outstanding men and women, from diverse backgrounds, who are critical-thinking Sailors and Marines who serve with honor, courage and commitment.”

Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was first established in 1979. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush expanded the observance to encompass the month of May, and in 1992, Congress passed a law permanently designating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Midshipmen Help People to Safety During Baltimore Protest

For 10 U.S. Naval Academy plebes, a recent experience showed them that even one year of military training has changed the way they approach a crisis.

Midshipmen 4th Class Madisen Grinnell, Brad Kadlubowski, Erik Sabelstrom and Harrison Yosten attended an Orioles game in Baltimore April 25, along with six of their classmates.

Getting to the city early, they stopped at a Subway down the street from Camden Yards to grab sandwiches – the same street where a group had gathered to protest the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who sustained fatal spinal cord injuries while in police custody earlier this month.

Some of the midshipmen were aware of the protests but didn’t give them much thought that evening.

“I’d read about it,” said Grinnell. “I didn’t realize they would be so close to Camden Yards.”

The protests began peacefully Saturday but became suddenly violent while the midshipmen were ordering their food and finding seats with approximately 10 other customers. The protesters began moving down the street, and without warning, a chair from outside hit the shop window. Another one quickly followed, breaking the glass and sending the customers into a panic.

The midshipmen helped the store manager direct people to the back of the store, away from the windows, forming a loose barrier between the civilian customers and the protesters who continued to pelt the windows with rocks as they moved down the street.

“The plebes were the last to seek safety and only did so after they made sure all others were safely away from the windows,” wrote Robert Oshinsky, one of the Subway customers, in an e-mail to academy officials. “My wife and children were scared but I believe a little less so as a result of the actions of the plebes.”

The midshipmen said they just did what needed to be done.

“I don’t think it occurred to any of us that we were doing anything special,” said Sabelstrom. “It would not be cool if a group of midshipmen were the farthest in the back.”

Grinnell had a similar thought. She heard someone directing women and children to the back, but she stayed in front with her classmates.

“You’re in the military,” she told herself. “You should be in front.”

“We shouldn’t be in the back of any kind of group. We’re in uniform,” said Sabelstrom.

Would they have reacted the same way a year ago?

“Probably not,” said Kadlubowski.

No one in the store was injured during the incident. The protesters continued down the street and after a few minutes, the midshipmen left and made their way to Camden Yards for the baseball game. After learning the protesters were expected to return at the end of the game, they left in the 8th inning to return to the Naval Academy.

Monday, April 27, 2015

U.S. Naval Academy Hosts Special Olympics

The U.S. Naval Academy hosted the annual Maryland Special Olympics competition on Ingram Track April 26.

Approximately 350 midshipmen volunteers were paired with athletes who competed in track and field events throughout the day.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

The event is a collaboration between the Naval Academy’s Midshipman Action Group, the Annapolis Jaycees and Maryland Special Olympics. Athletes earning qualifying times will then go on to the next level of competition at other venues statewide.

“This is really driven by the midshipmen,” said Jim Schmutz, president and CEO of Special Olympics Maryland. “It is unbelievable the support we get from the midshipmen. It is a great demonstration of their leadership and it makes us proud to be Americans that our future leaders are taking interest in our special athletes.”

Midshipmen volunteers provided support to the athletes ensuring they arrived to their races on time and ready to go.

 “I look forward to this every year, and it is awesome for me to see the athletes enjoying the day,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Derek Moore, USNA Special Olympics project leader. “The Naval Academy shows us how to be an officer and a leader,” said Moore. “The core of any good leader is a good person, and you can see that in someone with events like this.”

The event allowed midshipmen and their athletes to bond and enjoy the day’s activities.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

“I volunteered a lot in high school with the Special Olympic basketball tournament down in Richmond, Va., and the track and field events at the University of Richmond,” said Midshipman 4th Class Collin Rogers, USNA Special Olympics volunteer. “It is one of the biggest times of year for the athletes, and we get to see them get excited. It makes me happy that I am helping them reach their goals.”

"With a record number of Midshipmen supporting the USNA-hosted Special Olympics Track and Field Day, and, with great weather all day long, our Olympians and their families enjoyed a wonderful event again this year,” said Miriam Stanicic, Naval Academy community relations director. “We were all very honored when the Admiral Carter and Mrs. Carter came to support the event in the afternoon, and the Admiral quickly became a part of the awards ceremony and the festive cheers to follow."

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Administration Building to be Named in Honor of Former Superintendent

At a ceremony later this summer, the Naval Academy will rename the Administration Building “Larson Hall” in honor of Adm. Charles R. Larson, Naval Academy Class of 1958, who passed away July 26, 2014.

The building was built in 1907, renovated in 2014, and serves as the headquarters of the Naval Academy superintendent and immediate staff.

Larson was among the most accomplished and influential superintendents in the 170-year history of the Naval Academy, serving in the position twice - from 1983 to 1986 and again from 1994 to 1998.

He recognized the need for, and enabled the eventual establishment of, what is now the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership. Among his greatest initiatives was the establishment of the Naval Academy’s Character Development Division, which he developed immediately upon returning to the academy for his second tour as superintendent. His strong emphasis on providing character and honor instruction to the brigade was instrumental in leading the academy back from a challenging time in its history, both restoring public confidence and repairing the academy’s reputation and credibility.

"Admiral Larson was an exemplary leader in every respect, who served his nation with distinction,” said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Walter “Ted” Carter. “His influence on the Naval Academy is lasting. It is entirely fitting to name in his honor the building in which superintendents direct the course of the Naval Academy.”

Larson’s accomplishments were numerous, including the establishment of the framework with the Naval Academy Alumni Association for the academy’s largest to-date public/private funding venture which led to the construction of the Brigade Activities Center, now known as Alumni Hall. He also directed the Naval Academy’s 150-year anniversary celebration, and led the effort to build the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center.

“Admiral Larson was an extraordinary American and an extraordinary leader. Through his diligence and hard work, he served with great distinction in the United States Navy both at home and abroad,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski. “Through two tours of duty at the U.S. Naval Academy, Admiral Larson executed his mission to reassert the traditional high standards of moral and ethical conduct required of the midshipmen as future military leaders of America. It’s a fitting tribute that this building will bear the name of Admiral Larson, honoring his lasting legacy to the U.S. Naval Academy.”

You can read more about Admiral Larson's career at the Naval Academy Alumni Association website.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

USNA's Third Annual Capstone Day

The United States Naval Academy’s Weapons and Engineering Division held its 3rd Annual Capstone Day in Rickover Hall April 22.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

Nearly 100 teams representing all the engineering disciplines at the Naval Academy presented their capstone projects.

“This is a great opportunity for midshipmen to show our staff, faculty, fellow midshipmen and outside visitors projects they have been working on this year,” said Lt. Cmdr. Spencer Temkin, junior permanent military professor of aerospace engineering.

Capstone design is the keystone experience for engineering students at USNA. It is an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge they have acquired and represents the culmination of their engineering education.

“This year my team and I have been working on a rocket for the NASA Student Launch Competition, which challenges participating teams to design rockets that address the research needs of different NASA missions,” said Midshipman 1st Class Hayes Friddle, project manager for the Navy rockets. “We built a nine-foot carbon glass rocket and 14-foot aluminum ground support system for the competition as well as for our capstone project.”

Working in teams, Naval Academy seniors from all of the engineering departments undertake ambitious capstone design projects that involve design, build and demonstration/competition phases.

Photo by MC2 Jonathan Correa

“Time is the midshipmen’s biggest challenge,” said Capt. Jay Bitting, director of the Engineering and Weapons Division. “Sometimes the midshipmen don’t finish a project, and it carries on to the next year, but now the groundwork is laid out for a new group to fix or expand on what was started.”

Among the visitors were representatives from different branches of government and civilian contractors.

“The interest from these government agencies and big civilian sector companies gives the midshipmen a chance to talk to someone who is working on the same things they are working on,” said Temkin. “Getting the opportunity to talk to professional engineers helps the midshipmen understand what part they will be doing in the Navy and the world after graduation.”

The day culminated in a poster session where the visitors could ask the teams questions about their projects.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Naval Academy and UMBC to Collaborate on Cyber Projects and Education

U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) President Freeman Hrabowski April 21st on the UMBC campus.

Photo by Mr. Gin Kai, USNA Photo Lab

This agreement will support future partnerships between the two schools, beginning with five cyber security research projects from teams of faculty from both institutions.

This collaboration has its roots from when Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert visited UMBC in February 2014. During the visit Greenert met with Hrabowski to discuss ways to work together on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives. This initial visit between the two illuminated the institutions’ mutual strengths and interests in cybersecurity.

The initial cyber collaborative projects between the USNA and UMBC will involve areas from tactile authentication for mobile devices to detecting anomalies in cyber-physical systems to securing cloud services using policy-based approaches.

“I wanted to do this since I assumed the position of superintendent last year,” said Carter, from the UMBC campus. “To partner with a school like UMBC is a great opportunity, particularly a school represented with so many opportunities for woman, international students and minorities.”

Photo by Mr. Gin Kai, USNA Photo Lab

The Naval Academy continues to take steps to ensure future graduates are invested with the skills and knowledge necessary to operate in an emerging cyber security environment. The academy is the only U.S. institution of higher learning that has mandatory cyber security classes.  The baseline is to provide every academy graduate with an understanding of the cyber domain and how it impacts their commands and their ability to conduct their missions.

The academy also now offers a cyber operations major, an interdisciplinary course of study that covers a wide range of cyber-related operations, both technical and non-technical. And, in December 2014, Congress approved funding for a dedicated building to house USNA's Center for Cyber Security Studies.

"I predict 30 years from now, what we did here (at the CRADA signing) will be vital to national defense," said Carter.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Navy Triumphs in Cyber Defense Competition

The U.S. Naval Academy won the 15th annual Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX) hosted by the National Security Agency Apr. 13-16.

CDX is an cyber security exercise in which students from the service academies design and build computer networks and defend them against intrusions by the National Security Agency/Central Security Services (NSA/CSS) Red Team (Red Cell).

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

The exercise was headquartered this year at the Parsons facility in Columbia, Md., with each academy's team competing on a virtual private network from their home locations. Competing against the Naval Academy this year were teams from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Air Force Institute of Technology and Royal Military College of Canada.

During the exercise, representatives from each of these schools designed, built and defended their virtual computer networks against malicious attacks by NSA "Red Cell." Teams chose how to use the resources at their disposal to best defend their networks and to keep certain critical services running, while the attackers attempted to infiltrate the networks and disrupt those services.

"The CDX is an important complement to the fundamentals the midshipmen learn in the classroom," said Cmdr. Mike Bilzor, professor in the Computer Science Department. "The skills they have to employ - intrusion detection, log analysis, reverse engineering, and digital forensics, to name a few - require them to learn a great deal more about computer and network security. These are skills that many of them will use in the fleet."

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

A separate team of NSA specialists graded each team’s ability to effectively maintain network services while detecting, responding to, and recovering from security intrusions or compromises.

NSA designed the competition to give students experience with designing and implementing computer security solutions with limited resources, as well as to encourage some friendly competition among the services. Students learned how to work as a team to ensure that their plan effectively protected their networks from attacks and how to react when the defenses did not work as expected.

"The competitive aspect inspires the midshipmen to work that much harder," said Bilzor. "We're thankful to NSA for hosting another great event, and we salute the other academies on an outstanding competition."

Additionally, students gained hands-on experience using the same tools used by the Defense Department to defend networks against cyber attacks.

"The team has been able to train exceptionally hard this year, thanks to the Cyber Center providing a dedicated training space, and the midshipmen being allowed time to train together during selected afternoons," said Bilzor. "You fight like you train, and cyber defense is at least as training intensive as any sport."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Two USNA Midshipmen Named Truman Scholars

Congratulations to Midshipmen 2nd Class Teresa D. Kennedy of Wasilla, Alaska and Andre M. Evans of Chicago, who were recently selected as 2015 Truman Scholars.

The Truman Foundation announced that 58 students from 50 U.S. colleges and universities were selected. They will receive their awards in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo., May 24.

Kennedy is an English major and hopes to serve in the Marine Corps. She currently serves as the 4th Battalion Training sergeant, is a midshipman fellow at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, a starting flanker on the women’s rugby team, an active member of the Midshipman Action Group and a peer tutor at the academy’s Writing Center.

Kennedy plans to pursue a master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution. She is the academy's 22nd Truman Scholar.

Evans, a naval architecture major, hopes to be a Navy surface warfare officer. He is the president of the Midshipman Black Studies Club, a member of the Gospel Choir, a member of the Midshipman Action Group and a member of the academy’s STEM outreach program Sea Perch.

Evans plans to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. He is the academy's 23rd Truman Scholar.

The Truman Foundation is dedicated to former President Harry S. Truman and recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential and intellectual ability who are committed to careers in public service. Scholars are required to work in public service following completion of a Foundation-funded graduate degree program. Scholarships provide support up to $30,000 for graduate school.

For more information about Truman Scholarships, visit the Truman Scholarship website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

USNA Judo Club Trains With Wounded Warriors

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The Washington D.C. Veteran Affairs Medical Center hosted the U.S. Naval Academy Judo Club to meet and train with a group of wounded warriors April 10.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

A group of four midshipmen trained with veterans and civilians with a range of disabilities who practice in an adaptive Judo program. Judo’s emphasis on technique and knowledge of the discipline creates a common ground where disabilities have very little impact on training and skill.

“It’s really interesting because everyone here has some form of a disability, which really shows how Judo is universal,” said Midn 2nd Class Sally Anderson, newly elected Judo Club president. “There is someone here who is blind, and she’s able to rely on her other senses to learn and perform at a really high level. She isn’t limited by being born blind. She’s able to feel and hear her way to figure out what she has to do. It’s really inspiring and amazing.”

The event was originally scheduled during March because of the Judo communities’ “Visit Another Dojo” month observation. Snow storms in March had the event cancelled, but the Judo Club officer representative knew how important it was for the midshipmen to able to have an experience working with veterans.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

“It’s a great opportunity for the midshipmen to be able to give back, but they are getting so much from working with these veterans,” said Cmdr. Tom Tedesso. “They’re able to interact and hear the stories of these comrades-in-arms who have sacrificed and given so much for our country. I think it gives them a real appreciation for what they could possibly be called upon to do in the future.”

The participating veterans served in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam, a time frame spanning nearly 60 years. Judo’s inherent adaptation style of practice helps veterans to relieve stress and allows the midshipman to train their minds to be flexible when faced with adversity.

“I feel like they are getting a better understanding of our experiences,” said Johnny Addison, U.S Navy Vietnam War veteran. “As I was an enlisted man, my first commander out of boot camp was a USNA graduate. As future leaders of the U.S Navy, they are going to be interacting with enlisted members as well as officers. I think the stories we are sharing can help give them some real insight into difficult situations.”

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

“It’s humbling hearing their experiences, and I feel honored to be able to be here with them,” said Anderson. “I’m able to share the common ground of Judo to communicate with someone who has received a Purple Heart. We have the opportunity to meet someone who has given so much and do something we all really enjoy. I feel fortunate in that way.”

USNA’s Judo Club will be participating in the 2015 National Judo Collegiate Association National Championships at West Point this weekend. For more Information about USNA’s Judo Club, please visit 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference: Day 1 Recap

The Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference is in full swing this week. The theme of this year's conference is "Sustainability and Sovereignty: Global Security in a Resource-Strained World."

Yesterday's lectures and roundtable discussions focused on food and water security around the world.

To read more about the conference and the speakers and discussion topics featured this year, visit the NAFAC website.

Monday, April 13, 2015

USNA Kicks Off Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

The Naval Academy kicked off Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) Tuesday with a visit by Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education (MPT&E) Fleet Master Chief (AW/SW) April D. Beldo, who spoke to both midshipmen and enlisted personnel about sexual assault prevention issues.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

In honor of April as SAAPM, the midshipmen decorated Tecumseh's statue with the teal ribbon that symbolizes sexual assault prevention and awareness and the theme's for this month's observance: "Know your part. Do your part."

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

Other events planned for the month include the "Do Your Part" 5K Run/Walk April 27, followed by a Brigade dinner in Dahlgren Hall. The 5K is open to USNA and NSA Annapolis personnel and their families and starts at Gate 1.

On April 30 at 7 p.m., a "candlelight" vigil will be held in Mitscher Auditorium (using glowsticks) as part of the SAAPM closeour ceremony.

Throughout the month, SAAPM t-shirts can be worn as "spirit gear" by the midshipmen and promotional banners will be visible around the Yard.

Photo by MC2 Tyler Caswell

The mission of USNA's SAAPM events is to increase the awareness among the Brigade of Midshipmen, staff, and faculty regarding the impact of sexual violence and provide opportunities to show support of sexual assault victims and survivors.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bonds of Gold Ceremony Connects Classes of 1967 and 2017

By MC3 Nathan Wilkes

The U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2017 held the 12th annual Bonds of Gold ceremony in Memorial Hall April 7.

During the ceremony, the USNA Class of 1967 donated several class rings and miniatures to be melted down and included in the gold for the Class of 2017's class rings.

Photo by MIDN 3/C Dylan Prenda

 “This tradition is part of the ‘Another Link in the Chain’ program, which connects alumni classes with their fifty-year counterpart midshipman classes,” said Bill Dawson, executive vice president of engagement for the USNA Alumni Association. “By passing down their rings to the next generation of naval officers, the members of the Class of 1967 share their experience, their legacy and create a permanent bond with these midshipmen.”

This year’s ceremony celebrated the donation of nine rings and miniatures from graduates, wives and mothers from the Class of 1967. Each ring was presented to the class with personal testimonies from the honorees and donors of the rings.

Photo by MIDN 3/C Dylan Prenda

“We are humbled and honored to have a few members from the Class of 1967 here to share in this tradition with us tonight,” said Midshipman 3rd Class Chosnel Raymond Jr., Class of 2017 president. “We have been provided an extraordinary opportunity to hear some of the incredible adventures each of these nine rings represent and have the honor of carrying their experiences into our rings.”

One of the most iconic representations of the Naval Academy, midshipmen started wearing class rings in 1869. Each ring is engraved with the Naval Academy seal on one side and a unique crest, designed by the class, on the other.

Photo by MIDN 3/C Alison Koenig

In honor of the 50-year connection, the Class of 2017 chose to incorporate elements of the 1967 class seal into their own design.

“This is one of many events that highlight the importance of carrying on the history and traditions of the Naval Academy from the alumni to the midshipmen,” said retired Cmdr. Howell Parry, USNR. “As these midshipmen develop into the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps, they will carry our legacy and use it to forge their own.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

USNA Faculty to Be Promoted

A ceremony was held yesterday to honor the following members of the USNA faculty who will be promoted later this year.

Associate Professor effective mid-August 2015:
  • CDR David M. Ruth, USN, Mathematics 
Associate Professor with tenure effective mid-August 2015:
  • Sharika D. Crawford, History 
  • Carolyn Q. Judge, Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
  • Michael R. Kellerman, Political Science
  • Brian A. Munson, Mathematics
  • David J. Phillips, Mathematics
  • Donald L. Wallace, History
Full Professor effective mid-August 2015:
  • R. Temple Cone, English
  • Amy E. Ksir, Mathematics
  • Jeffrey A. Larsen, Physics
  • Shirley Lin, Chemistry
  • Dianne J. Luning-Prak, Chemistry
  • Thomas M. McCarthy, History
  • Jenelle A. Piepmeier, Weapons and Systems Engineering
  • Brian J. Rehill, Chemistry
  • Jamie L. Schlessman, Chemistry
  • Virginia F. Smith, Chemistry

Friday, April 3, 2015

USNA Assistant Professor Named KITP Scholar

USNA Assistant Professor Ryan Wilson was recently named a Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) Scholar.

Dr. Wilson is the first service academy professor selected for this prestigious award and one of only six awardees for 2015-2017.

“I feel honored to have received the KITP,” said Wilson “I put a lot of work into the application because it was important to me. There’s some nice recognition to the award and I feel fortunate to be able to accept it.”

Wilson is a native of Kirkwood, Mo. and began teaching physics at the Naval Academy in August 2014. He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2011 and spent the intervening years performing research at the National Institute for Standards and Technology and JILA at the University of Colorado Boulder. As a KITP Scholar, Wilson will be performing theoretical/computational research on ultra-cold matter, as well as, collaborating with colleges in this field of study.

“I'm interested in exploring the exotic states of matter that emerge in gases of atoms and photons,” said Wilson “This is a place designed to foster collaborative research among scientists of all kinds of disciplines. Part of the idea is that sometimes the best ideas and the greatest progress come from unexpected places. If you start to learn about someone else’s research, you might get some ideas to help your own research. This will expose me to a larger community of people to discuss my research with.”

KITP Scholars are visiting researchers in theoretical physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The award funds a total of three round trips and up to six weeks of local expenses. KITP established the KITP Scholar program to support the research efforts of faculty at U.S. colleges and universities that are not major research institutions.

Wilson hopes his experience will enable him to become a better teacher.

“I hope to be a more effective faculty member here at USNA,” said Wilson. “There’s a part of the program that will help my research, that’s true, but the other part of the program is the educational component. It brings together educators to discuss common issues we face. How do we become more efficient teachers? How can we better include our students in research? We come together to try to come up with solutions.”

Wilson’s decision to apply for a position at USNA was motivated by an opportunity to teach and conduct research.

“I think one thing that distinguishes USNA from other institutions, is there are many teachers that instruct while performing research, and are encouraged to do so,” said Wilson. “They want effective teachers, and they do a great job of bringing them here. They also want civilian faculty that will involve Midshipmen in their research and make meaningful contributions to their field.”

“As a teacher of physics, he explains why theoretical underpinnings are important and how theory makes problems easier to solve,” said Assistant Professor Daniel Finkenstadt. “Wilson's research students respect his background in atomic physics, and the Kavli Scholarship is certainly an important acknowledgement and confirmation of Ryan's academic excellence and achievement.”

The KITP Scholar Award is helping to create opportunities for teachers whom are excelling in their respective fields, and allowing those teachers to have a meaningful impact on the students they are educating and conducting research with.

“Having professors that both teach and conduct research is crucial to our academic development,” said Midshipman Second Class Michael Woulfe, one of Wilson’s research students. “Because Professor Wilson's dual role, I was able to learn all about his expertise beyond a conventional class and since I'm his research student, we will be able to explore further into his subject expertise.  Not only will this research benefit my knowledge and learning, but it will also be a new, and hopefully original, discovery.