Bethune K-8 students conduct experiments with U.S. Navy scientists through virtual SPAWAR field trip

Posted: Wednesday, October 17th 2018

Big Navy reached into classrooms across America through a first-ever livestream outreach event in an effort to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and to help build a robust future pool of American scientists and researchers.

Thanks to the U.S. Navy's SSC-Pacific (SPAWAR) team, this exciting "virtual field trip" offered Bethune K-8 school students the opportunity to tune in live to watch top SSC Pacific scientists, Dr. Burton Neuner III and Dr. Brittany Lynn of the Advanced Photonic Technologies Branch, as they discuss photonics through an interactive presentation of "Ocean Light and Communication and Invisible Light."

SSC Pacific lead videographer and event coordinator Aaron Lebsack explained the project's significance this way. "SSC Pacific's STEM Outreach efforts are impactful already, whether participating in in-school events, or coaching FIRST LEGO Robotics teams, however, this event allowed us to multiply the effort. Rather than reaching out to one classroom at a time, the format allowed us to have scientists reach out across the nation with the potential audience being every student in the country," Lebsack said.

Locally, Bethune K-8 hosted the live stream for the 40 plus enthusiastic students in teacher Kellie Marcarelli's 8th grade science class. In addition to participating in the live-stream, SSC Pacific's Dr. Sarah Lauff offered first hand additional classroom activities and answered students' questions in real-time.

School principal Valerie Jurado was thrilled by both the professionalism of the scientists and the engagement from students.

"This was such a great opportunity for students to see real-world applications of science in everyday life," she said. "I am so proud of our kids. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to engage and who knows what the impact will be on them in the future?  One of our kids went to Space Camp just a short while ago, and now she wants to be an astronaut. This is an incredible opportunity for our kids to learn from real scientists."

Excerpts by Patric Petrie, SSC Pacific lead staff writer/editor

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