Friday, June 30, 2017

USNA's STEM Program Hosts Baltimore Youth

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The United States Naval Academy's Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) office hosted 60 Baltimore students during its Summer Heroes Youth Program (SHYP) at USNA.

The students visited USNA for day trips to participate in a number of physical activities and STEM workshops facilitated by midshipmen, staff and faculty.

SHYP highlights what an institution like USNA can offer and hopes to foster interest in higher education in STEM fields among younger students.

“Being from Baltimore, I felt like I almost had a responsibility to participate and show the students that there are kids who come out of the city and attend amazing institutions like USNA,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Dante Daniels, lead midshipman liaison for SHYP. “I’m excited to be able to share my experience, to help inspire them to continue down a great path and value their potential.”

The eight-day program hosted students attending Fort Worthington Elementary, Baltimore IT Academy, Hampstead Hill Academy, AFYA, North County Elementary, Guilford Elementary, Waverly Elementary, Roland Park Elementary and Middle, Vanguard Collegiate Middle, Montebello Elementary and Middle Schools. Parents could drop off students at pick-up points throughout the area including the Y at Weinberg. This collaboration with the community allowed the USNA STEM Center to double the capacity of students for SHYP.

"The community, parents and teachers put a lot of effort forward to help us host this many kids, and the students reflect that,” said Professor Sarah Durkin, USNA STEM Center associate director. “The students are so enthusiastic, we’ve even heard they run to the bus in the mornings.”

The partnership with Baltimore Schools and the STEM program helps emphasize coordination and team-building exercises.

“We think SHYP gives them confidence and strong self-image,” said Professor Angela Moran, Volgenau Chair for education and outreach and STEM Center director. “We see them learn how important communication skills, critical thinking and teamwork are to solving problems.”

While the students learn, create and experience the USNA atmosphere, the midshipmen participating are also given some of their first opportunities in leadership.

“We have about 30 midshipmen who are helping to facilitate," said Durkin. “It’s really a win-win as most of them are entering their second year at USNA, and are given some of their first opportunities to be mentors.”

The STEM Center’s annual impact includes the work of 60 faculty and staff members and 300 midshipmen, organizing 70 events. Through approximately 24,000 midshipmen volunteer hours, the STEM Center reaches out to 13,000 Students, 900 teachers and 150 informal educators from across the country. For more information about USNA’s STEM Center, visit:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

USNA Inducts Class of 2021

The U.S. Naval Academy welcomed the 1,215 men and women of the incoming Class of 2021 during Induction Day June 29.

I-Day marks the beginning of a demanding six-week indoctrination period called Plebe Summer, during which civilian students are indoctrinated into military life.

This indoctrination period is meant to help plebes develop discipline, honor, self-reliance and organization. These attributes will provide them with the foundation they will need to be successful midshipmen and throughout their military careers.

"Today, for you, is a day of transformation," said USNA Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. He talked with both the new plebes and their parents about the legacy of the U.S. Naval Academy and naval service in general.

"It's a remarkable history, and their journey is just starting," he said. "I look forward to watching your sons and daughters grow, not just over the summer, but in their midshipman career and their future Navy and Marine Corps career."

The new class includes 888 men and 327 women - making up 27 percent of the incoming students.

Among the new plebes are 15 international students from 14 countries: Egypt, Georgia, Honduras, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Palau, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

Sixty-one of the incoming plebes are prior-enlisted personnel, 50 from the Navy, 10 from the Marine Corps, and one from the Army.

On I-Day, the new plebes receive uniforms and military haircuts, undergo medical evaluations, learn to render a salute and complete their registration.

Each plebe receives a copy of "Reef Points," a 225-page handbook of information about the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the Naval Academy's history and traditions, their administrative chain of command, and the general orders of a sentry. The new midshipmen are required to memorize approximately 1,000 facts outlined in the book.

I-Day concludes when the midshipmen take the Oath of Office in front of their family, friends and new classmates during a ceremony in Tecumseh Court. After the ceremony, plebes say goodbye to their families who will not see them again until Plebe Parents Weekend, Aug. 10-13.

With the conclusion of I-Day, Plebe Summer officially begins. During this time, plebes start each day at dawn with mandatory physical training. The remainder of each day is packed with drills and instruction on the military lifestyle and more physical training. The plebes are allotted minimal leisure time.

During these six weeks, the plebes are led and trained by upper-class midshipmen. Instruction includes seamanship, boat handling, navigation and small arms training.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mids Tour Fenway Park

Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsman, and Naval Academy midshipmen participate in a tour of Fenway Park. The amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) and more than 50 tall ships from around the world are participating in Sail Boston 2017, a five-day maritime festival in the Boston Harbor. (Photo by MC2 Jordyn Diomede)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Midshipman Receives Penn Mutual Life of Significance Award

A Naval Academy midshipman was presented the Penn Mutual Life of Significance Award during the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship June 3-4 at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia.

Midshipman 1/C Jenna Jones received the award for her leadership as the president of Navy Women's Rugby and her dedication to community service.

The award is given annually to a collegiate rugby player participating in the CRC. The recipient exemplifies Penn Mutual’s values of integrity, commitment and respect, and has made substantial contributions to society and their community.

"I didn’t really think when I came to USNA that I would end up playing rugby," said Jones, who was encouraged to try it out during Plebe Summer. "Now it’s been three years. When I found the rugby team, I found my home and I wouldn’t trade it for the world."

The Life of Significance Award is inspired by the book authored by Joseph Jordan, “Living a Life of Significance,” which focuses on the positive impact the life insurance industry has on society.
Jones became active in community service as a high school student as a member of JROTC and the Key Club.

"I loved being around people who wanted to give back to the community and helped others, and that followed me here to USNA,” she said.

Here, Jones leads a team of 30 women on the rugby team and dedicates time to several community service projects, including Toys for Tots, The Boys and Girls Club and the Maryland Special Olympics.

She also serves as a peer educator and mentor for the academy's Sexual Harassment Assault Prevention Education (SHAPE) program.

"I really didn’t feel like I was prepared to handle the situation of sexual harassment or assault before I came to USNA and started taking SHAPE classes, and I wanted to get involved so that I could help other Midshipmen here and the Sailors I will be leading out in the fleet,” she said.

The Life of Significance Award includes a $5,000 contribution to the charity of the recipient’s choice, and the USNA’s rugby team will receive $1,000 in Rhino Rugby gear.

"I’m so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded by coming here to USNA," said Jones. "Between rugby and getting involved with the community in the last three years, I’ve learned and have been able to grow as a person and as a leader more than I have in my whole life."

Jones is the second midshipman to receive the award since the program began two years ago. The inaugural award was presented to then Midshipman 1st Class David Schroeder.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Midshipman Study Cyber Operations in Europe

Eleven midshipmen are currently on a Language, Regional Expertise and Culture (LREC) trip in Europe. They attended the 9th annual NATO International Conference on Cyber Conflict in Tallinn, Estonia, May 30-Jun 2, where they heard Admiral Michelle Howard give the keynote address titled "Leadership and Technology Changes: Implications, Opportunities, and Operational Perspective."

They also heard from and met with the president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid.

While in Europe, these midshipmen will take a course on cyber operations and NATO in Germany and will travel to England to meet with an array of British intelligence officials, including former MI6 director Sir Richard Dearlove and former Cabinet Secretary Lord Richard Wilson.

They also visited Helsinki, Finland and toured the historic Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, where they gained a clearer understanding of foreign military history and operations.

The purpose of the trip is to expose and broaden the perspectives of cyber majors, encouraging a global contextualization of cyber operations and connections to international relations, while teaching students to foster positive rapport with allies working in the cyber domain.

Monday, June 5, 2017

USNA Mids, Graduates Receive SECNAV Innovation Award

A team of Naval Academy midshipmen and recent graduates were awarded the Secretary of the Navy's Innovation Scholar Award today at the Pentagon for their research project entitled Autonomous Mobile On-Orbit Diagnostic System (AMODS).


 The goal of AMODS is to employ a small satellite platform to provide both new and legacy spacecraft with cost effective on-orbit assessment and repair services. It has the potential to instigate a paradigm shift in respect of how the DoD and the space industry as a whole develops and operates space assets. 

The AMODS team includes Ensigns Edward Hanlon, Benjamin Keegan and Morgan Lange, MIDN 1/C Jacob Pittman, and MIDN 2/C Gavin Roser and  Dakota Wenberg.