The Science Brothers program is based out of the
Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City, Fla., Division. It is nonprofit outreach program aimed at getting elementary and middle school students interested
in STEM activities.
Prior to their performance, Porter marveled at the
size of the crowd that was gathering, as well as the
many attendees not only checking out — but also taking part — in the activities offered by exhibitors
throughout the exposition.
“If it’s this crowded on the first year you are doing
this, then that’s a good problem to have,” he said. “It’s
great that so many kids are coming out to see what sci-
ence is all about.”
More than 30 exhibitors offered information, displays
and demonstrations on such fields as robotics, cyber
security and information technology, aviation and marine
science. Exhibitors ran the gamut from Young Women in
Bio, Destination Imagination and the Naval Historical
Foundation to the C3 Cyber Club, International Sub-
marine Races, the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team
and Raytheon. The Northrop Grumman Naval and Ma-
rine Systems surface ship test vessel Sperry Star III, which
was docked at the National Harbor pier on the Potomac
River, also was open for tours.
Kilroy Robotics had one of the largest displays, and
it definitely needed the space to show off the robots
from its last two competitions — last year’s Kilroy 15,
also known as “Ball Bot,” and this year’s Kilroy 16,
which was headed to the First Robotics world championship in St. Louis April 22.
“Ball Bot” got its nickname for obvious reasons: it
lifts and then hurls a large red ball through something
that looks to be part goal and part basketball hoop. The
new Kilroy offers more of a forklift design to lift, move
and stack crates. Both mobile robots weigh in at about
The Kilroy Robotics team is dedicated to introducing,
organizing and running competitive robotics to King
George, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Caroline County
schools in Virginia, according to Jessica Salinas, public
relations and media chair with Colonial Forge High
School in Stafford County. Participating students design,
build, program and operate the robots.
This year’s Kilroy will go up again robots from 600
others teams in a challenge called “Recycle Rush” that
involves stacking totes, capping them with recycling
containers and then collecting and disposing of “litter”
along a course.
The Kilroy team boasts about 40 students, Salinas
said, and with the world championship looming,
“we’re as ready as we can be, we can’t wait.”
Along with myriad hands-on activities, the STEM
Exposition also offered a “career track” focus that gave
attendees who are interested in high-demand STEM-
related careers the ability to meet and speak with
industry and sea service representatives — including
divers, pilots and unmanned vehicle operators.
For guest speaker Frank L. Culbertson Jr., not even
the sky has been the limit for his career. Now a senior
vice president responsible for human spaceflight pro-
grams at Orbital ATK, he is an astronaut who was com-
mander of the International Space Station in 2001.
During his remarks, he stressed the importance of
teamwork, leadership and persistence, and spoke of his
unique career experiences, such as conducting a space-
walk and being aboard the first Space Shuttle to make a
night landing at Kennedy Space Center.
He also offered a sobering reminder of why the
STEM disciplines, and the students who pursue them,
are so important to those who are in the business of
Culbertson recalled being aboard the space station
when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred and receiving
word about them while orbiting over Canada. He pho-
tographed the smoke plumes from the World Trade
Center site and on his next orbit saw the smoke over
Washington from the Pentagon attack.
Culbertson would later learn that one of his Naval
Academy classmates, Charles Burlingame, was the cap-
tain of flight 77 that hit the Pentagon.
“No one is closer than a classmate at the Naval Academy,” Culbertson said. So he played “Taps” in his
classmate’s honor from space. ;
Kerri Carpenter, director of publications and social media director,
contributed to this report.
71 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / MAY 2015
Laura Canseco operates the Laparoscopic Surgery
Simulator at the Naval STEM Exposition.