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Prize-Winning Prose: Naval STEM Launches New Version of Naval Horizons Essay Contest

17 April 2023

From Warren Duffie Jr.

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Department of the Navy’s (DoN) Naval STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) program has gone live with the newest iteration of its Naval Horizons student essay contest for high school and college students.

Naval Horizons is a STEM educational video series from the DoN’s Naval STEM Coordination Office, located at the Office of Naval Research (ONR). It is a collection of more than 45 videos highlighting scientists and engineers, including active-duty military personnel, working within the DoN. It aims to broaden the awareness of real-world science and technology challenges facing the Navy and Marine Corps today and help illuminate the many pathways to STEM careers. 

“Naval Horizons is encouraging students to picture themselves in STEM careers where they are able to contribute to cutting-edge science and technology that solves tough problems,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby. “We are seeking individuals interested in STEM careers, who may or may not have been exposed to the wide variety of civilian and military professional opportunities in naval science and technology.

 “This year’s Naval Horizons includes a video of three NASA astronauts at the International Space Station, who are all graduates from the Naval Test Pilot School,” Selby continued, “highlighting the diverse career paths of military professionals.”

The DoN’s Naval STEM Coordination Office oversees investments in education, outreach and workforce initiatives. This enables the U.S. to cultivate the technical workforce needed to keep the Navy and Marine Corps on the leading edge of scientific and technological innovation.

Each Naval Horizons contest adds new online videos to the existing set. Students may choose to learn about any topic in the complete video collection, which covers a variety of research areas — including autonomy, data science, cybersecurity, environmental science, naval architecture, nuclear engineering, oceanography, undersea medicine and more. In each video, naval scientists and engineers discuss the applicability of their work.

For the essay contest, high school and college students are invited to learn about naval research topics by watching the videos. They then are encouraged to submit an essay that explains how they’re inspired by naval research and the naval workforce — and provide a futurist vision of the Navy and Marine Corps.

The essay contest will close Monday, May 29 at 11:59 PM ET. Judges will select up to 5,000 winners, all of whom will be eligible to receive a $200 cash prize. Exceptional essays will be designated Naval Horizons Highest Honors and highlighted on the website at

“This is a valuable opportunity for high school and college students to learn about diverse science and technology areas across the Department of the Navy,” said Sandy Landsberg, who is both the Naval STEM Coordination Office executive and a division director in ONR’s Command, Control, Computing, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (C5ISRT) Department.

“Naval Horizons showcases leading experts and their interesting educational and career paths that led them to working on challenging science and technology efforts supporting the Department of the Navy,” she continued.

Those interested in learning about the Naval Horizons essay contest should visit While this contest is designed specifically for high school and college students, everyone is invited to watch the videos related to Naval STEM.

Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.


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