Daniel Swick, a robotics technician in NSWC IHD’s Unmanned Systems Branch, describes the explosive ordnance disposal functions of an iRobot Packbot during the History, Industry, Technology, and Science Expo at St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Maryland, March 11.
Daniel Swick, a robotics technician in NSWC IHD’s Unmanned Systems Branch, describes the explosive ordnance disposal functions of an iRobot Packbot during the History, Industry, Technology, and Science Expo at St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Maryland, March 11.

INDIAN HEAD, Md. – The winds outside howled on a chilly Saturday, as the first attendees to the seventh annual History, Industry, Technology, and Science (HITS) Expo trickled into St. Charles High School in Waldorf, Maryland, March 11. Things would soon heat up however, as students and parents alike flooded the event, and encircled the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division’s (NSWC IHD) booth to learn about the technologies supported by the command.

The event combines the Charles County Public School’s history and science fairs with various STEM demonstrations, to include the SeaPerch underwater robotics competition.

“The Charles County Public Schools’ HITS Expo continued to grow in its seventh year,” said Jack Tuttle, a CCPS social studies content specialist and event organizer. “There were more presentations, especially by non-school system agencies, all of which were hands-on and very fun for our participants. We estimate that our audience also grew this year, with an overall attendance of approximately 400-500 participants of all ages. We are always glad to offer this annual spring event as a chance for the public to experience interesting history, technology, and science programs in our schools and community.”

Students who visited the NSWC IHD booth learned about the critical technologies developed by one of the county’s largest employers. The command’s display included a fighter pilot ejection seat, giving students and their parents a visual understanding of the instrumental role command technology plays in ensuring a pilot can successfully eject during an emergency. Attendees also had a hands-on opportunity to learn about explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robots and how the technology keeps EOD operators safe while deployed.

“It really is a great annual opportunity for us to display the critical technologies developed and produced here at this command and to give these students an idea of what careers a background in STEM can lead to,” said NSWC IHD Chief Technology Officer Dr. Kerry Clark. “For us to showcase that, while also engaging the students with some really cool systems, is a win-win for everyone involved. We want to be an active force in training the next generation of scientists and engineers at Indian Head and what we do here helps us do just that.”

NSWC IHD — a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and part of the Navy’s Science and Engineering Establishment — is the leader in ordnance, energetics, and EOD solutions. The Division focuses on energetics research, development, testing, evaluation, in-service support, manufacturing and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.

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