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Recognizing STEM Education Impact Since 2007: Cantu Named Honorary Seabee

14 May 2024

From Mario Icari

NAVFAC Southwest Environmental Engineer Allison Cantu, was named Honorary Seabee at the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) National Joint Engineer Training Conference on May 14 in Orlando, FL.

NAVFAC Southwest Environmental Engineer Allison Cantu, was named Honorary Seabee at the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) National Joint Engineer Training Conference on May 14 in Orlando, FL.

“It was an incredible honor and a total surprise,” said Cantu. “I am so honored to be recognized for doing what I love. The rewards are always greater than the effort as I learn as much from the campers as they do. I’ve benefitted from an extraordinary high school chemistry teacher who pushed forward my career in engineering and in turn motivated me to drive inspiration to the next generation of engineers.”

Cantu was recognized for her selfless dedication leading the Navy’s Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Construction Camps for SAME since 2007.

“Alison Cantu has been the Camp Director and driving force behind the SAME Navy Seabee STEM Camp for over a decade,” said Rear Adm. (ret) Mark Handley. “Working side by side with Seabees from the Construction Battalion Center in Port Hueneme California, Alison fully embraced the Seabee “Can Do” spirt and made a positive impact on hundreds of high school students, inspiring them to pursue STEM educations. Through this program, these students gained an appreciation for the U.S. Navy Seabees and military engineer careers. This is a tremendous acknowledgement for Alison for her selfless service and leadership. She exemplifies the inscription on the Seabee Memorial “With compassion for others…” which the Seabees are known for.”

The Navy's chief of Civil Engineers and the force master chief of the Seabees grant the title of honorary Seabee to individuals whose efforts have promoted the Seabee legacy and reflect credibly toward the accomplishment of the overall Seabee and Navy missions.

Seabees are the Navy’s uniformed construction forces, born of dire need at a time of national peril after the U.S. was stunned by the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. From the island-hopping campaign of World War II, to the cold of Korea, to the jungles of Vietnam, the mud of Bosnia and Kosovo, the sands of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the mountains of Afghanistan, and the oppressive heat of Iraq, the Seabees have built bases, bulldozed and paved thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplished a myriad of difficult construction projects. Seabees have fame, honor, and distinction as an organization that "can do" even when faced with seemingly impossible obstacles.

SAME’s STEM Construction Camps offer high school students interested in a highly unique STEM experience the chance to spend a week at a military base learning engineering, construction and design, while developing leadership skills and discovering the potential of a career in STEM.
Led by SAME professionals and other volunteers from the military and engineering community, for more than 20 years the SAME Camps Program has focused on practical, project-based learning that provides hands-on opportunities to explore STEM fields and to chart a course for future education and career opportunities.

SAME camps feature an impressive record of producing thousands of engineers and STEM leaders. They provide a rigorous experience for students interested in exploring STEM skills and careers. During the week, campers gain a sense of what it takes to become a STEM professional and learn what options exist to explore that interest from high school to college and beyond. Each camp has a unique curriculum that features hands-on activities conducted in competitive environments promoting teamwork, leadership, project management, and problem-solving.

For more information about the Naval Construction Force, visit

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