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USNA Midshipmen Dazzle STEM Students

At the United States Naval Academy (USNA) Summer STEM Program, seasoned midshipmen gained vital leadership experience as they prepare to become Surface Warfare Officers. During two weeklong STEM sessions last month, USNA faculty mentored three midshipmen as they taught more than 400 American high school students how to construct a battery, power a light-emitting diode (LED), electroplate a nickel coin, and even solder a circuit board, among other educational modules.

Midshipmen 2nd Class Kathryn Viado and Amy Krick, and Midshipman 1st Class Jacob Glesmann, managed a variety of academic modules for the program, each consisting of short presentations, 15-minute demonstrations, and hand-on lab stations for small groups.

During the corrosion modules on June 4 and 11, Midshipman Viado, an electrical engineering major from Gambrills, Maryland, showed small student groups how to make their own battery using a copper penny, a paper towel, vinegar, and a zinc washer, in order to teach principles of electricity, electrochemistry, and corrosion science.

“The battery consisted of three layers starting with the penny, a small circle cut from paper towels saturated with four to five drops of vinegar, and a zinc washer,” explained Viado. “Through this process, the students learned that the penny acted as the positive side of the battery and served as a cathode, and the zinc washer served as the negative side, equivalent to an anode.”

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