Story by Daniel Daglis on 08/01/2017Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Vandroff and Technical Director Dr. Tim Arcano joined Carderock's Director of Strategic Relations Dr. John Barkyoumb for the signing of an Educational Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), July 27 in West Bethesda, Maryland.
"I've very excited about this opportunity and really look forward to this being a success for the government, for UMBC and for the students," Arcano said. "This EPA is mutually beneficial because it connects UMBC to Carderock and the government for research purposes and cultivates an environment for collaboration."
The EPA is one of 12 active partnerships that Carderock has with college-level institutions and K-12 public school systems. EPAs are used with young students grade K-12 to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while agreements with colleges and universities allows for collaboration in research and project efforts. According to Barkyoumb, this new EPA will help to strengthen the relationship with UMBC in areas of cyber security, additive manufacturing and additional business areas.
Representatives from UMBC present for the signing included Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Dr. Antonio Moreira, Dr. Karl Steiner and Dr. Don Engel, vice president and assistant vice president for research, respectively.
Moreira joined Arcano and Vandroff in the signing of the official document. In addition to his position in academic affairs at UMBC, Moreira is also a professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering who spent nearly 10 years in the private sector in senior management positions. He also has an active research program in bioprocess engineering.
"We are very excited about this partnership. We have many partnerships with the Department of the Navy and this is one of the strongest," Moreira said. "We look forward to enhancing this partnership in terms of internships and cooperative research opportunities with faculty. We look also look forward to working with Carderock to enhance our status as two powerhouses in innovation. It's terrific to be able to partner Carderock scientists, engineers and staff with our students and faculty as we move along to future objectives."
The term of an EPA spans five years and the purpose of the agreement is to aid in the educational experience of the institution's students by providing a mechanism by which those students can benefit from Carderock's staff expertise, unique facilities and equipment related to surface warfare science and technology. Carderock's contributions to this partnership help to encourage student interest in STEM and business vocations may benefit Carderock laboratories in terms of advance training of future employees.
"Whenever I talk to new employees at Carderock, I always impress upon them that all business is a people business because it is people that accomplish the missions of the organization," Vandroff said. "Partnerships like this are a way to help us attract great people and maintain a top-notch workforce. This EPA is a great gem in those things we do to help our people both to get the right people here and to keep the right people here."
Under an EPA, Carderock may loan defense laboratory equipment to an institution for educational purposes, make laboratory personnel available to teach science courses or to assist in the development of such courses and related educational material, and offer visits, tours and demonstrations at its facilities for faculty and students of the partnered institution. Additionally, Carderock designates a senior scientist or engineer to be responsible for structuring the partnership program and provide support to the educational institution.
Also present for the signing, and to welcome representatives from UMBC, were mechanical engineers and leaders in Carderock's additive manufacturing initiatives Caroline Scheck (Code 611) and Jonathan Hopkins (Code 6103).
"I think that these partnerships are really important to our mission because the universities have so much new knowledge and are able to innovate quicker in some ways," Hopkins said. "We now have the ability to reach out and really dive deep into our research initiatives. This also allows us as engineers at Carderock to get really good solutions as quickly as possible out to the Navy fleet."
Scheck, a UMBC alumna with a bachelor's and a master's degree in mechanical engineering, has played a key role in additive manufacturing and was given the opportunity to spearhead the organizing of the Naval Additive Manufacturing Technology Interchange the first meeting of which was held at Carderock in 2014. She now leads the NAVSEA Additive Manufacturing Warfare Center Working Group.
"I'm still currently enrolled as a doctoral student at UMBC," Scheck said. "I have loved the campus, loved the professors, and I'm really happy to see this move forward having come from there and seeing what UMBC can offer in terms of research and expertise."
Following the signing, UMBC representatives were taken on a tour of the Carderock facilities including the Manufacturing, Knowledge and Education (MAKE) lab, which is a workspace for employees to learn about additive manufacturing and the 3-D printing process.