Dr. Lauren Freeman, a senior oceanographer at the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport, recently participated in the STEAM Festival hosted by the Portsmouth School Department in Rhode Island. Demonstrating NUWC Division Newport's commitment to educational outreach, Dr. Freeman engaged students from kindergarten to grade 12, emphasizing the importance of science and nurturing their curiosity about the natural world. 

Held from 27-28 February at Portsmouth's public elementary schools, the festival aimed to immerse students in real-world applications of science and math, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these subjects. This initiative reflects NUWC Division Newport's dedication to supporting STEM education and encouraging future generations of scientists and engineers.

“We’re losing young females, as well as minorities and underrepresented groups, from technical fields, from science, math, engineering, and we’re losing them really early,” she said. “Already at that age, there is a perception that science is for boys. And I am really keen to combat that because science is for everyone, as is engineering and math and all the other great parts of STEAM. That’s a big motivator for me to do these events.”

Dozens of professionals across various STEAM fields set up small exhibits to showcase their work before students and their parents. In addition to Freeman, Division Newport was represented by Monica DeAngelis, a marine mammal biologist in the Division Newport’s Corporate Operations Branch, and David Hart, a mechanical engineer and U.S. Navy diver who heads Division Newport’s Towed and Deployed Arrays Engineering Branch.

“The main reason I wanted to participate is because I know it has a big impact on kids,” Hart said. “I’ve seen firsthand with my own kids, when they get to see the stuff that goes on here, it just opens their eyes up. A lot of times you’re only exposed to the careers your parents are in, so any time they get that exposure to those STEM careers, I think it’s a great thing.”

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