Jack Sheehy is a freshman at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, CA. He applied and was accepted into the US Naval Academy’s very competitive Summer STEM Program. We asked him to share his experiences with that program for a look into the future of this future STEM star.
Science, technology, engineering, and math were the only four categories that I once believed STEM focused on. It turns out; however, STEM is much more than that, and the US Naval Academy proved that to me.
This summer, I participated in the USNA’s (Virtual) Summer STEM Program. The weeklong program includes many different challenges and classes where I learned about everything from mechanical and electrical engineering to sports data and cryptography. We learned from USNA instructors and worked with like-minded students from around the globe. My personal favorite was electrical engineering, where we were given the task of designing an emergency switch for a light bulb that we used to simulate a laser weapon system. I also enjoyed chemistry where we used photoreceptors to estimate the dilution of an unknown liquid. Cryptography, while admittedly one of the more difficult lessons, taught us how to change code, decrypt security passwords, and crack simple encryptions. We learned how to solve real life problems in real time.
This experience reshaped my views on the STEM pathway. I learned STEM is much more than just engineering. It introduced me to fields such as sports data where you estimate the forces and powers acting on players and objects. And chemical engineering where we learned about chemical reactions, biofuels, and how these are important pieces of the world that we live in.
STEM is an important part of the future and programs like the USNA Summer STEM Program are the key to unlocking our future. Companies must invest in STEM focused programs for students. I firmly believe that through STEM programs, the overall understanding of the world and solving universal issues will be increased exponentially. Students like me, and my friends, are highly interested in these fields. By being introduced to and provided STEM learning opportunities, we are set up to become leaders of the future.
Go Navy, Beat Army!