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High School Students Learn STEM Career Skills with NAVFAC Far East



YOKOSUKA, Japan—Nile C. Kinnick High School students are performing internships at Naval Facilities Command (NAVFAC) Far East HQ and Public Works Department (PWD) Yokosuka during the 2014-2015 school year.

NAVFAC Far East gives the students opportunities to learn about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related careers and to explore relevant career paths.

“This is an area we can offer something back to our local community, since we’re such an integral part of the community, by opening our doors to these students and having them learn about the responsibilities of working,” said former Business Director Earl Smith, who coordinated this project for NAVFAC Far East. “It’s an easy thing to do and I view it as an obligation, to give back to the community. I expect the students to get out of it a sense of responsibility, a sense of what it’s like to go to work. Hopefully someday, some of these students will end up working for the federal government, maybe for the navy. Hopefully this gets them excited enough they think about the Navy [as a career].”

The students; Miguel Perez, Eian Valasquez, Charla Johnson, Austin Eggers, Claire Neal, Natosha Carel and Noah Bork are working with NAVFAC Far East capital improvements, command information office and Public Works Department Yokosuka. Each division is teaching job skills and taking them to job sites to see real-world work activity. 

“I’ve been working in Public Works Department and been learning about their terminology. We were working on blueprints and I learned about how they would symbolize demolishing certain buildings. [I’ve been] applying new things to the project they needed to and I learned about all the [public works department’s] responsibilities,” said Ian Velasquez, who is working with Lt. Cmdr. Brandon Casperson. “What I like about this career is a majority of it is structural design. I like building structures and brainstorming what I can do to actually make up a new shape of a building or room or find a way to help it with certain situations.”

“I’ve learned a lot, especially because I’m interested in programing,” Natasha Carl said. “I’ve learned a lot about servers and different things that go on around here at NAVFAC. Technology interests me. My dad is in [information technology], and I think what he does is interesting. I want to be in IT and do computer stuff in the future.”

The collaboration between Nile C. Kinnick High School and NAVFAC Far East is in its fourth year.

“This program is vital to our high school upper-classmen in that they have an opportunity to experience real-world scenarios in their chosen career field.  They get to see, firsthand, what it takes to successfully perform the job.  This program also teaches them many life lessons that they'll need whether they're headed straight to college, into the military or entering the workforce: personal responsibility, interacting with other people, customer service, etc.  Specifically where NAVFAC is concerned, there is a big push in the public schools to get students involved with/exposed to STEM. Being an engineering command, NAVFAC is especially well-suited to assisting the high school in one of our major goals: incorporating STEM into our curriculum,” said James Adair, Nile C. Kinnick High School teacher.



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