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Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC)

Fleet Survey Team, USM build STEM workforce with Pearl River College

by Jonathan B. Holloway
08 November 2021 Fleet Survey Team (FST), in collaboration with University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Ocean Science and Engineering, demonstrated hydrographic systems to Pearl River Community College’s (PRCC) STEM club, this Oct.19, 2021.

PRCC recently added two new hydrographic classes to its Unmanned Aerial Systems Program, and FST was able educate future STEM professionals on hydrography’s wide-range of applications, namely used by the U.S. Navy.

“We were honored to support PRCC’s academic efforts through hands-on, interface with students, and actual hydrographers and field operators from FST,” said Commander Jen Landry, FST Commanding Officer. “Hydrography is an essential component to the Navy’s mission and we shared that with potential hydrographers at PRCC.”

The event was coordinated by USM’s Hydrographic Science Program Coordinator, who organized to involve FST considering its enduring support to the program.

“FST has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with USM’s hydrography program and together, we have leveraged the innate talent in this [Gulf Coast] region to directly support Fleet requirements for safety of navigation throughout the world,” Landry said.

FST exhibited hydrographic survey equipment—the Teledyne Z-boat, an unmanned surface vessel, and a pair of jet skis—that use sensors to gather data of littoral regions for safe navigation of U.S. Navy ships.

“Educating and exposing the future STEM workforce, or hydrographers and oceanographers in this case, to the actuality and application of their academic discipline is a way to stimulate a career choice,” Landry continued.

According to Calvin Martin, FST’s Chief Hydrographer and Technical Director, he knew nothing about hydrography when first starting work as a federal-civilian employee.

Apparently, Martin wants to share that message of opportunity with students, or future professional in the field.

Considering USM is the only U.S. school offering a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science with a hydrography focus, the Gulf Coast region seems to be a hub for talent.

“Naval Oceanography’s enterprise at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi has the largest concentration of hydrographers and oceanographers in the world,” he said. “We have this incredible place in our own backyard, but many don’t know about it—that’s why we are here.”

FST is a subordinate command of U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office located at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi.

U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions, based on assured environmental information, faster than the adversary.
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