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NEWS | May 25, 2017

NRL Hosts “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day”

By Jonathan Sunderman

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) hosted its annual Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day April 27.

NRL, the U.S. Navy’s premier research laboratory, held the event onboard the laboratory with a special emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) outreach.

NRL’s commanding officer, Capt. Mark Bruington, welcomed more than 500 children, parents, and chaperones as he highlighted important work conducted at NRL every day in support of the U.S. Navy's requirement for advanced research.

"We have some the world’s best scientists, engineers and support team here at the Naval Research Lab,” Bruington said. "With all of the tours happening today, it is essentially a massive STEM day. As you walk around and see all of this neat technology and equipment, I encourage you to ask questions.”

Bruington told the school-aged children in order for their parents to conduct these research projects, they first had to understand science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the subjects children study every day.

The day kicked off with the children getting the opportunity to experience a STEM fair in NRL’s Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (LASR) facility. Director of LASR, Alan Schultz, and his staff, welcomed groups of parents and children, explaining the facility’s mission and capabilities.

"I, as well as many of the scientists who work in LASR, are strong supporters of STEM activities — we need to help inspire and train the next generation of scientists," Schultz said. "Hopefully, visitors to LASR leave with excitement about the work being performed at NRL, and then choose to study science and become scientists."

Earth Day was April 22 this year, but that didn't stop NRL from doing its part for future generations during the day’s festivities. Several "future scientists" volunteered to assist Dave Smith and Michael Knutson from NRL’s Environmental Section, plant three Yoshino cherry trees on the lab. Before the plantings, Knutson quizzed the kids on the numerous environmental and ecological benefits that trees provide.

The day's agenda also included lab tours throughout the NRL campus, to let children interact with scientists. Tours included visits to space robotics, chemistry, spacecraft development, plasma physics, optical sciences, virtual dog training and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"Events like this are a good example for students to see how STEM disciplines are key in achieving success," Bruington said. "We want you all to be thrilled by the the research being done here for the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. We want you all to work here one day.”

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