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Principles of Engineering Welcomes Guest Speakers from U.S. Navy

Valley Echo Baner

Derek Pezo '19
23 March 2019

On March 7th, the 6th period Principles of Engineering Honors class and Physics Club welcomed guest speakers Mikel Hamlin and Francis Waligur to talk about nuclear engineering in the U.S. Navy. During this presentation, they explained the tasks that their jobs require, along with talking about different fields in engineering. There were two sessions hosted, one during the school day, and one after school that was welcome to teachers as well.

Hamlin and Waligur were eager to impart their considerable knowledge to eager students. “These gentlemen from the Navy initially reached out to us,” stated Mr. Michael Carlucci, Supervisor of STEM. “As a supervisor I had to give permission for this presentation, but Mr. Phillian did most of the leg work arranging the session.”

U.S. Navy Member Presents to the Class; Property of Mr. William PhillianThese presentations were crucial in the sense that students were able to become exposed to several branches of engineering. One of the first things the gentleman did was dispel any rumors about working with nuclear energy, since people tend to associate it with dangerous atomic weapons. The majority of the presentation consisted of the tasks the Navy completes, such as powering submarines and aircraft carriers across the globe.

“Students were impacted by being able to better understand the scope of the Navy's nuclear energy program and its role in powering navy aircraft carriers and submarines around the world,” said Mr. William Phillian, teacher of the class.

By learning about the numerous opportunities in navy nuclear engineering, students were able to see what life is like on navy carriers. These carriers are so well equipped that they are sometimes referred to as “floating cities with an airport on top.” Some also have gymnasiums, and even a Starbucks built on board.

The speakers also stressed that this type of work is not for the faint of heart, and that it requires much focus on education and maintaining high grades. This was important, as it confirms the fact that students must be focused on studies regardless of the type of work they aspire to do.

“It was good to have the students be reminded that C’s and B’s might not cut it, and that this line of U.S. Navy Member Presents to the Class; Property of Mr. William Phillian work needs a lot of attention,” said Carlucci.

Besides exposing students to the type of careers available within engineering, this entire event also benefited Passaic Valley’s STEM Program. This will, in turn, lead students to make their own connections to what they learn in class and knowing what’s waiting for them in the world.

“The event definitely made the class more interested in engineering, as well as other fields in the Navy,” stated Joshua Bleeker ‘19.

Real-world connections like this have already been effective, as the engineering classes previously visited the Nokia Bell Laboratories. Students were able to talk to numerous engineers who work mainly on robotics and 5G communications networks.