PIPELINES recognized for excellence in education
A Pipeline into STEM
UC Santa Barbara-Port Hueneme partnership recognized for excellence in education
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(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — For the past four summers, UC Santa Barbara and the Navy base at Port Hueneme have partnered to provide a workforce learning opportunity to science and engineering undergraduates at the university as well as those at local community colleges. The program, Problem-based Initiatives for Powerful Engagement and Learning In Naval Engineering and Science (PIPELINES), offers the students an eight-week immersive experience at the Navy base.
And the key phrase is “problem based.” Each summer, PIPELINES teams of two community college students and one undergraduate at the university pair up with a scientist or engineer at the Navy base and a UC Santa Barbara graduate student who serve as mentors. The undergrads receive a challenge from their Navy mentors and work with their teams, Navy staff and their grad student partners to devise a solution.
For instance, in the program’s first year the base needed a tether system that would connect a seafloor sensor to an antenna mounted on a surface buoy. The Navy wanted to take advantage of the bandwidth of fiberoptic cables, but the material fairs poorly under tension, which it could experience in high seas. The team devised a spring system that could absorb the tension put on the cable with minimal losses in transmission.