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The Preengineering Program Initiative Of The National Defense Education Program: A Navy Focus

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Enhancing Recruitment and Retention in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1241.1 - 14.1241.13



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Paper Authors


Eugene Brown Virginia Tech

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Eugene Brown is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He has worked with ONR and DoD since 2001 on educational-outreach-related work-force development issues. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and is the author of many papers and reports describing his research in the areas of computational fluid dynamics, fluid mechanics and his work in educational outreach.

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Robert McGahern DDR&E

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Robert McGahern is the Director of the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) Pre-Engineering Partnerships (PEP) initiative for the Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E). Prior to his current position Mr. McGahern served as Deputy Director of the N-STAR initiative at the Office of Naval Research.

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Robert Stiegler NSWC-DD

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Robert Stiegler is currently supporting the USMC Targeting and Engagement Systems and the K-12 Outreach Programs for the DDR&E National Defense Education Program, Office of Naval Research N-STAR initiative, and the Naval Sea Systems Command Outreach Program. He previously served as a program manager for USMC science and technology programs, Science Advisor to the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic, and Head, NAVSEA Combat Systems Safety and Engineering Division.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Pre-Engineering Program Initiative of the National Defense Education Program—A Navy Focus


Through the Pre-Engineering Program (PEP) initiative, a part of the National Defense Education Program (NDEP), the Department of Defense (DoD) is mounting a nation-wide effort to assure the viability of the nation’s future scientific and engineering workforce. Building on lessons learned from the Navy-supported Virginia Demonstration Project (VDP) begun in 2001, the PEP will grow to reach from coast to coast in 2010 when 20 Navy, Army, and Air Force research centers and their surrounding school districts will be a part of the program. This paper will focus on the Navy component of this program.


The National Defense Education Program (NDEP) is building a foundation for the future workforce needs of the Department of Defense (DoD) by supporting science and math programs at the pre-college, undergraduate/graduate, and faculty/post-doctoral levels. At the K-12 (pre- college) level, NDEP’s Pre-Engineering Program(PEP) initiative features both in-school, summer camp, and after-school activities with particular emphasis on math-focused, DoD scientist-and-engineer-mentored, hands-on, problem-based learning experiences. For college and university students, NDEP supports basic and applied research opportunities through the SMART (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation) scholarship program strengthened through summer internship work experiences. At the faculty/post-doctoral level, NDEP provides significant funding for basic research through the National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF) program.

NDEP is a 21st century update to the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) which Congress enacted in 1958 to reorder the perceived advantage that the Soviet Union seized when it launched Sputnik into space. The NDEA authorized a far-sighted investment in science, engineering, and math education that produced the vaunted "rocket science" generation that came to work for the federal government beginning in the 1960s and secured the technological superiority of the United States during the latter part of the 20th century.

America was once again shocked into reassessing the adequacy of our future science and engineering (S&E) workforce after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. That self- examination, and the need to put more people to work on technical solutions to the problems of terrorism, war, and national security, led Congress to authorize the Department of Defense to create the SMART (Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation) pilot program under the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2005. The immediate positive response to the SMART program prompted Congress to make SMART permanent and lay the foundation for a National Defense Education Program that would support the development of a new generation of scientists and engineers who will put their human capital resource talents to use in our nation's defense laboratories.

Brown, E., & McGahern, R., & Stiegler, R. (2009, June), The Preengineering Program Initiative Of The National Defense Education Program: A Navy Focus Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5429

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