NAVAIR

YES! Conference success continues at China Lake

Riley Smith, an electrical engineer at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, shows students some of the unmanned aerial vehicles he works with during the “Gadget Guys” portion of the Young Engineers and Scientists! of Ridgecrest Conference at China Lake on Sept. 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Justin Moberg)

Riley Smith, an electrical engineer at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, shows students some of the unmanned aerial vehicles he works with during the “Gadget Guys” portion of the Young Engineers and Scientists! of Ridgecrest Conference at China Lake on Sept. 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Justin Moberg)

Oct 3, 2017

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Students work together to learn computer programming during the Young Engineers and Scientists! Of Ridgecrest Conference at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division on Sept. 16 at China Lake. (U.S. Navy photo by Stacie Bailey)

Students work together to learn computer programming during the Young Engineers and Scientists! Of Ridgecrest Conference at Naval Air Warfare Center W ...

A roar of excitement from 145 middle school students echoed throughout the hallways of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapon Division’s McLean Laboratory just before the start of the 7th annual Young Engineers and Scientist! of Ridgecrest Conference on Sept. 16 at China Lake.

“When “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” came out in 1977, I wanted nothing more than to be an X-wing pilot when I grew up,” explained Jason Cushing, Anti-Radiation Missile Technical Project Office lead, as he shared his journey of becoming an engineer. “I didn’t quite make it to being an X-wing pilot, but I ended up with a pretty awesome job and I owe that to my interests and my dedication to learning more about math and science. I hope that today, you all will have similar learning experiences.”

Prior to the conference, each student chose three workshops to participate in ranging from creating robots out of syringes and building bridges out of spaghetti to learning the science behind magnetics and fingerprints among other selections. Each session was led by teams of volunteers from the NAWCWD workforce and members of the community.

“Many of the kids expressed having plans to pursue science, technology, engineering and math fields not just as careers, but as hobbies,” said Michelle Leslie, YES! volunteer and flight test engineer. “There were kids that already enjoyed computer programming, technical research, and designing systems.”

In addition to the workshops, students enjoyed presentations by Riley Smith, a NAWCWD electrical engineer who spoke to the students about unmanned aerial vehicles, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians Senior Chief Tim Bray and EOD1 Matt Hulse, who shared different examples of what could be considered explosive material or objects. Bray and Hulse also invited students to try on a bomb suit and explore one of their bomb squad response trucks.

At the day’s conclusion, the conference ended almost exactly as it began: with a loud roar of excitement and an even louder thank you to all who helped put the conference together. When asked their favorite workshops, making ice cream, water bottle rockets and building parachutes were among the top.

“I think the conference went really well,” said Michelle Kaumeyer, one of the conference organizers and volunteers. “It is great to interact with and teach the kids about some of the really neat stuff they can accomplish in careers that might seem intimidating or uninteresting to them initially. I was not exposed to anything like this when I was in middle school, but I think it is important for our young people to understand what is out there in the job world at an early age to truly build a passion for their careers.”

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Students build and operate robots made of syringes during a Young Engineers and Scientists! of Ridgecrest workshop at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake on Sept. 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Ryan Schmidt)

Students build and operate robots made of syringes during a Young Engineers and Scientists! of Ridgecrest workshop at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons ...

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician First Class Matt Hulse helps a Young Engineers and Scientists! of Ridgecrest Conference student try on a bomb suit during a “Gadget Guys” presentation at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake on Sept. 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Gustavo Yepes)

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician First Class Matt Hulse helps a Young Engineers and Scientists! of Ridgecrest Conference student try on a bomb s ...

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