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MarineTech Program Continues Its Quest to Engage Students, Teachers in Marine STEM Careers

Old Dominion University's MarineTech Project has wrapped up a successful summer of activities towards its ultimate goal of creating interest among students and teachers in science and math careers in shipbuilding and other maritime areas.

Alok Verma, Ray Ferrari Professor and director of the Lean Manufacturing and Enterprise Institute of the engineering technology department in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, said the diverse roster of summer workshops for teachers and students helps the MarineTech program reach different aspects of its goal of turning on young minds to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

"The project addresses the urgent need to enhance students' interest and performance in STEM courses, while fostering skills that are important prerequisites for STEM careers, particularly in marine engineering and technology," Verma said.

Among the activities tackled by the MarineTech participants was a ship design competition in July attended by more than 150 students, teachers and parents.

Other summer activities included an information technology workshop, introducing students to problem-solving and algorithm design using software called Visual Logic; two sessions of math and science activities for middle and high school students, geared toward ship design and repair; and a career counseling session for students considering careers in shipbuilding.

In 2008, Verma received a $1.3 million National Science Foundation grant to help tailor STEM education around the shipbuilding industry, in an effort to recruit the future workforce essential to this key Hampton Roads industry.

The grant funds the MarineTech program, which among other initiatives, offers 60 middle and high school math and science teachers each year a summer development seminar explaining MarineTech educational kits, which are specialized STEM instructional units that Verma created focusing on the shipbuilding and repair industry.

The Lean Manufacturing and Enterprise Institute was established at ODU to find solutions for issues related to enterprise productivity. The institute also addresses issues related to other business functions such as supply chain logistics, technology management, human resources, design, and contracting.

Lean Manufacturing is a philosophy, which aims to improve productivity by cutting down waste throughout the organization.

This article was posted on: August 12, 2011

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