Special to Iredell Free News
Will Harryman IV recently attended the U.S. Naval Academy’s Summer STEM Program. This is a highly competitive camp offered by the USNA to expose young people to the engineering and science majors offered at the military school in Annapolis, Md.
Students were selected based upon PSAT/SAT scores, high academic performance, and evidence of strong accomplishments inside and outside the classroom. A total of 280 students were accepted from approximately 5,000 applicants nationwide.
The students lived in the same rooms as USNA midshipmen during the academic year. Harryman roomed with a STEM camper from Chino Hills, Calif.
“We still email and text each other. It was interesting to meet other students from around the USA,” Harryman said.
Summer STEM program participants are not subjected to the rigid military rituals as midshipmen, but do attend science and engineering classes taught by USNA professors, and are led by USNA midshipmen or recently graduated USNA ensigns.
“I was surprised at the subjects we learned. We built scale models of bridges, and had them hydro tested in the USNA labs. We also built scales models of structures that were tested in wind tunnels. My favorite modules involved programming robots and machines. Of course, we also had science classes on micro-organisms living in the sea water there at Annapolis,” Harryman said.
The STEM students were kept busy each day that started at 6:30 a.m.
“There were academic modules all day, but we also did other non-academic activities that were a lot of fun,” Harryman said. “We toured the Smithsonian Museum, played sports, attended social events, and had evening meetings with our squad that was led by a USNA Midshipman. It was busy and we were exhausted when lights out came at 10 p.m.”
Harryman will attend Mooresville High School in the fall. Mooresville High offers the academic prerequisites for acceptance to any engineering university, but it requires hard work by the students who choose that academic path.
“This fall I can start taking all the right courses that will prepare me to attend a good engineering school. I know it will mean taking more difficult classes and studying longer hours. I would like to attend the USNA and major in Mechanical Engineering. My father was in the Navy and served on the USS Iwo Jima.
“I think being an engineer on a surface ship in the Navy would be an incredible experience and a great way to serve my country,” he added.
Harryman is the son of Kim and Will Harryman. A resident of Mooresville, he is an Eagle Scout in Scout Troop 171, which is supported by Williamson Chapel UMC.