EC junior Kate Funke reflected on the her summer experience at one of the top STEM programs in the country. 

“For also long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by our U.S. military, but it was not until attending the United States Naval Academy summer STEM program that I realized the U.S. Navy is the place for me. This program is one of the top STEM programs in the country – accepting only 250 of over 5000 applicants – so being accepted was a dream come true.

Summer STEM is designed for high school students who excel in math, science, and technology courses and are interested in pursuing engineering, architecture, or other related fields in college. I have always loved these subjects so doing daily, hands-on modules was one of my favorite things about the program. Some activities we did included solving problems related to real-world issues like topics of weather, bioterrorism, hacking, climate change, marine life, etc. I learned so much from all of these modules and activities from programming robots to assembling batteries to even constructing rockets.

In addition to the STEM activities, one of the coolest things I did was the 5:00 A.M. daily mornings workouts. It was crazy doing workouts that midshipmen are required to do. Whether it was pull ups, push ups, sit ups, or mile runs, we did it. At the end of the week, my platoon even took a physical readiness test that each midshipman is required to take each semester. I am happy to say I passed it and even ran a minute faster than the men’s required time (thanks cross country!).

Furthermore, I loved having actual midshipmen as my platoon leaders. It was awesome asking questions to people who have actually experienced life at the Naval Academy and receiving first-hand background on what life is like there. These experiences I had and friends I made are some that I will remember for the rest of my life, and I am so grateful for that!”