Blog | August 8, 2019

Mission: Readiness participates in STEM Day

NNOA event engages more than 600 students in STEM activities on board USS America

CA MR STEM Blog_Adm Ponds and Rodman
Shipmates dedicated to helping the next generation succeed (L to R): Rear Admiral (Ret.) Frank Ponds and Rear Admiral (Ret.) James Rodman

On August 6, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (Ret.) James Rodman and California State Director Jake Ferreira attended the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) STEM Day on board USS America (LHA-6), an event that presented more than 600 San Diego-area students, grades 6-12, with an opportunity to learn more about STEM careers.

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Rear Admiral (Ret.) James Rodman talks with members of the USS America crew about their gas turbine engines

Students directly engaged crewmembers who discussed everyday shipboard activities that incorporate STEM. Students toured the ship, viewing static displays and robotics/drone stations where U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard personnel were on-hand to answer questions.

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Mission: Readiness and NNOA member Rear Admiral (Ret.) Frank Ponds addresses local students

The event featured a keynote address by Mission: Readiness and NNOA member U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (Ret.) Frank Ponds, who delivered inspirational words encouraging students to continue their pursuit of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning opportunities.

“Kudos to the NNOA, the crew of the USS America, and school leaders for organizing an awesome event,” said Rear Admiral (Ret.) Rodman. “I was excited that students were able to see firsthand their school curriculum applied in the real world by the ship’s crew. If we are serious about producing America’s future leaders and innovators, we must continue to help students gain increased access to STEM learning opportunities both in and outside of the classroom.”

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Rear Admiral (Ret.) James Rodman engages students on the USS America flight deck

Mission: Readiness actively supports STEM courses in schools and through expanded learning programs (afterschool and summer). In addition, Mission: Readiness has supported STEM policy efforts focused on teacher preparation through professional development, classroom support, and adequate salaries.

The NNOA followed up STEM Day with a two-day Leadership, Professional Development, and Training Symposium at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego featuring distinguished service leaders including the Under Secretary of the U.S. Navy, the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, the Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The NNOA’s mission is to enhance Sea Service operational readiness by supporting recruiting, professional development, and retention in an effort to achieve a diverse officer corps that reflects the demographics of the nation. To learn more about the NNOA, please visit

To learn more about the USS America and her crew, please visit

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