In a continuing effort to spread Navy awareness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities throughout South Texas, recruiters of Navy Recruiting District (NRD) San Antonio participated in the city's annual Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's CORE4 STEM Expo held at the Freeman Expo Hall, Nov. 1 - 2.
The conference, consisting an all-female day and all-male day, featured leaders from the energy, science, computer, and aerospace industries and presented students with the opportunity to meet with high-profile representatives from Fortune 500 companies and governmental agencies.
Students experienced hands-on and demonstration projects, listened to speakers from exciting STEM fields, and spoke with Navy recruiters to discuss degree plans in interested fields and financial aid options.
According to Chief Petty Officer Miguel Cantu, NRD San Antonio's Nuclear Field coordinator, the Navy participated in the annual expo to bring awareness of STEM career opportunities and to pique the interest of students in attaining a STEM-focused career.
"Students visited our booth where they first watched a few videos regarding the various types of STEM-related jobs in the Navy and the importance of STEM for the Navy." After viewing the videos, students took part in a water bottle rocket demonstration and in the Penny Boat Challenge.
"The water bottle demonstration taught the kids about how liquids cannot be compressed and how the Navy uses nuclear power and steam to pressurize water to produce propulsion and electricity to power ships and other vessels," said Cantu, a native of San Antonio. "During the Penny Boat Challenge, we talked to the students regarding buoyancy and displacement which they had to demonstrate by building a vessel out of aluminum foil and seeing how many pennies could it hold before taking on water."
According to Cynthia Ritz, a science teacher with Wrenn Middle School, the expo was impactful.
"Many of our young ladies only see what's around them, they don't see what's beyond that," said Ritz. "We can tell them what opportunities are out there, but getting them here to see for themselves may spark them to become interested in STEM."
Ninety percent of career fields in the Navy are STEM-related and 10 percent of the Navy's total force is comprised of Texans, said Cantu.
"This is something that is going to enhance our students' futures," said Ritz. "I grew up on the south side of San Antonio and if I had been exposed to events like this, I would have probably entered into a STEM-related career field."