12 finalists share more than $1 million in ONR STEM challenge funding

December 15, 2011

ARLINGTON, Va.--The Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced Dec. 15 that it selected 12 winners from more than 125 entries in its Sponsoring Scholars in Science challenge, which was a highlight of the 2011 Naval STEM Forum.

The program is aimed at generating innovative projects that cultivate student interest and participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This supports ONR's goal of growing the pipeline of future scientists and engineers for the naval workforce.

Winning proposals were selected from seven topic areas supporting K-12, higher education and education research.

"This was a difficult task with so many good initiatives to review and rank," said Dr. Michael Kassner, ONR's director of research. "Ideas ranged from hands-on STEM kits to academic curricula to various competitions. Ultimately, the selection board chose the ideas with the most follow-on potential and those most closely aligned to the secretary of the Navy's STEM goals."

The finalists are from across the country and represent the education, scientific and business communities. Each will receive a research grant worth up to $100,000. Their ideas reflect both creativity and the needs posed by different geographic regions and education levels.

Chance Gower is the career technical and education instructional specialist for the South Kitsap School District in Port Orchard, Wash. He and Sara Hatfield, a teacher at South Kitsap High School, collaborated to submit a winning entry that will expand the Advanced Placement (AP) environmental science curriculum with real, hands-on renewable energy projects.

"Our STEM initiative will challenge students to design and install renewable energy systems on the grounds of the high school," said Gower. "We are partnering with Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, whose engineers volunteer to work with students to optimize designs and help with installation."

Hatfield added: "The first project is to plan, design and install a marine-grade wind turbine that will actually help power the school and supply electricity to the grid. This brings real math and engineering challenges into the classroom. The ONR grant will enable us to have the turbine up and running this school year."

The winners and their STEM initiatives are:
About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 30 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and more than 900 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,065 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Office of Naval Research

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