YES! success continues at China Lake

YES! success continues at China Lake By STACIE BAILEY

NAWCWD Public Affairs

A roar of excitement from 145 middle-school students echoed through the hallways of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapon Division’s McLean Laboratory just before the start of the recent Young Engineers and Scientists! Conference.

“When ‘Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ came out in 1977, I wanted nothing more than to be an X-wing pilot when I grew up,” said Jason Cushing, Anti-Radiation Missile Technical Project Office lead. “I didn’t quite make it to being an X-wing pilot, but I ended up with a pretty awesome job and I owe that to my interests and my dedication to learning more about math and science.”

Prior to the conference, each student chose three workshops to participate in ranging from creating robots out of syringes and building bridges out of spaghetti to learning the science behind magnetics and fingerprints, among other selections. Each session was led by teams of volunteers from the NAWCWD workforce and members of the community.

“Many of the kids expressed having plans to pursue science, technology, engineering and math fields not just as careers but also as hobbies,” said Michelle Leslie, a flight test engineer. “There were kids who already enjoyed computer programming, technical research and designing systems.”

In addition to the workshops, students enjoyed presentations by Riley Smith, a NAWCWD electrical engineer who spoke to the students about unmanned aerial vehicles, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians Senior Chief Tim Bray and EOD1 Matt Hulse, who shared different examples of what could be considered explosive materials or objects.

At the day’s conclusion, the conference ended almost exactly as it began — with a loud roar of excitement and an even louder thank you to all who helped put the conference together. Asked their favorite workshops, attendees named making ice cream, making water-bottle rockets and building parachutes, among others.

“I think the conference went really well,” said Michelle Kaumeyer, one of the conference organizers and volunteers. “It is great to interact with and teach the kids about some of the really neat stuff they can accomplish in careers that might seem intimidating or uninteresting to them initially. I was not exposed to anything like this when I was in middle school, but I think it is important for our young people to understand what is out there in the job world at an early age to truly build a passion for their careers.”

Pictured: Students build and operate robots made of syringes during the recent Young Engineers and Scientists workshop. -- Navy photo by Ryan Schmidt

Story First Published: 2017-10-13