4 April, 2001
Visiting Research Team from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Roy Manstan, Paul Mileski and Pat Gilles are communications specialists working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), a research laboratory in Newport, Rhode Island. They are only three members of a self-sufficient field engineering team of six who profile the scientific component of military and civilian technology. This team is using the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory's (CRREL) unique facilities this week to conduct tests in cutting-edge submarine antennae systems. The research may ultimately provide emergency communications and improve navigation in the Arctic.
In addition to the collection of scientific data for their mission assignments; Roy, Paul and Pat have made it their personal group goal to maximize their moments of down time for the promotion of education.
Looking at ways to interact with the local communities, especially schools, and investigating ways to interpret and profile science as it is occurring in the field while transmitting it to the public domain has its challenges. What students see is real time data collection, not a TV show.
This educationally progressive team is capturing technology developed by a military sponsor and translating it into a humanitarian effort. These public outreach activities are conducted on a not-to-interfere basis (not to interfere with their job assignment). This enthusiastic team is looking for ways to gradually become funded in military educational outreach so they can expand the scope of their (and the Navy's) educational endeavors.
I was invited to observe the live communications Roy, Paul and Pat conducted for the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, Connecticut while they conducted their tests and data documentation. Using his cell phone, Paul gave a running dialogue to signing teachers in the school's auditorium where the entire student body had gathered to watch on large screens. Pat, Roy and the rest of the NUWC team operated the cameras, test equipment and data collection systems, and conducted SCUBA diving operations under the ice. Throughout this process, students asked questions while watching both the above water and underwater video sent live via the Internet.
After the testing phase, the four of us chatted about educational outreach and the team's goals and challenges. Roy's educational link to the American School for the Deaf began with personal connections and an interest in attracting the deaf to careers in science, mathematics and technology. Roy observes that, unfortunately, the families of the deaf and consequently the deaf themselves sometimes maintain an attitude of limitations. The deaf are highly capable and must not limit themselves in career opportunities and the contributions they can make toward science and technology.
By Sandra Kolb, March 2001
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