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President Broderick Addresses Modeling & Simulation Summit

Old Dominion University President John Broderick addressed the Virginia Summit on Modeling and Simulation Oct. 13, highlighting the educational and research components of the university's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) and calling for the commonwealth to start preparing now for future workforce demands in order "to position Virginia as the world's M&S education leader."

The summit, hosted by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, was held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center and was a prelude to the ModSim World Conference and Expo. The summit also featured Aneesh Chopra, U.S. chief technology officer (pictured at right with Broderick), and Gen. James Mattis, commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command.

In his remarks, Broderick noted, "Most of the M&S expertise in the area is over 50 years in age. This workforce will soon need to be replaced. In order to meet future workforce demands for the next generation of M&S technicians, the successful Hampton Roads model should be expanded locally and across the state."

He pointed out that industry needs are growing faster than universities are responding, and thus there is a need to keep M&S students in the classroom because they get lured away by jobs offering more than $80,000 before they can finish their education.

He said that ODU will initiate the first M&S engineering undergraduate degree program in January - adding to the exiting master's and doctoral programs offered by VMASC - and that "we must encourage other universities to follow." He suggested the creation of academic partnerships with other Virginia universities to expand M&S education statewide.

Broderick added, "Universities with M&S programs must support efforts by community colleges and high schools to start M&S activities and programs directed at recruiting students to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas."

Speaking to a crowd of about 500 at the event, Warner said he hopes the M&S field can do more in the area of medical surgery simulations and that he is in favor of adding programs that would attract more young people to the M&S field.

"I cringe when I hear about Orlando or any other areas doing something new with modeling and simulation," he said. "We should be the world capital of this industry."

Chopra called on area middle and high schools to add M&S components to their curricula and to place more emphasis on math and science education.

This article was posted on: October 14, 2009

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