Surface Warfare Officers Attend NSBE Convention

By Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs Office

LAS VEGAS, NV – Twelve Surface Warfare Officers (SWO) from Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) attended the 35th annual convention of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in Las Vegas March 25-28 2009.

NSBE is an organization dedicated to the academic and professional success of African American engineering students and professionals. Its annual convention brings together the best and the brightest of today’s youth and works to enforce their appreciation for science technology engineering and math.With more than 4,000 middle school, high school and college students present, the event was an ideal chance to raise awareness about career opportunities in the Navy. The SWOs in attendance also assisted in junior high school engineering projects, pre- college question and answer panels, and judged competitions.

Lt. j.g. Jonathon Allmond, systems test officer on Pre-Commissioning Unit Makin Island (LHD 8), was a judge for the robotics competition. He said, “Attending the convention made me realize how little people know about the U.S. Navy and the opportunities available to them as a result of service to the country -- in particular, college graduates with leadership potential. I spoke with several career bound individuals about the benefits offered to SWOs and all became captivated.”

SURFOR’s diversity director, Lt. Cmdr. Mark Haney, added, “You could really see the relationship with the Officers and the students growing. On the first day the students seemed a little wary of those in uniform but by the end of the week they were comfortably approaching officers and asking: What do you do? What is it like? Is this something that I could do?”

Cmdr. Anthony Simmons, commanding officer of the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), said the four-day conference was a great success that aligns with the Navy and SURFOR’s continuing effort to foster a relationship with the community.

“NSBE provides a great platform for the surface warfare community to reach out and illustrate who we are to a talented pool of engineers,” Simmons said.  “The hands-on engagement via panels and engineering events during the convention easily allowed the Navy to succeed in illustrating that the complexity and autonomy sought after by the brilliant minds of today’s youth are valued trademarks in our community.”