By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Benson, Naval Support Activity Bahrain Public Affairs
More than 25 students from the Creativity Private School in Bahrain attended the first Bahraini Youth Science and Technology (BYSAT) Expo on board Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain Feb. 17.
The expo displayed different types of commercial technology utilized by the U.S. armed forces in Bahrain and educated youth on potential educational paths they may choose in the future. The visit was a joint effort coordinated by the Creativity Private School, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.
The Bahraini youth were given the opportunity to climb aboard a coastal command boat (CCB), operate educational robots, learn about the principles of buoyancy and handle cameras used by the Navy.
“Our mission here is two-fold: inspire youth to continue their education in the sciences and show the youth of Bahrain what the Navy does here,” said Capt. Kellie Watkins, Army Civil Affairs Unit with Commander Task Force (CTF) 56.
The high-tech science fair provided a rare opportunity for local youth.
“This serves as not only an educational tool but also as a motivational tool for the students,” said Shoban Chakrala, biology and chemistry teacher at the Creativity Private School. “This is like a science fair displaying how technology is used by the Navy and we can’t thank them enough for inviting us!”
The engineering accomplishments featured at the expo display just how far humanity has advanced in the past couple of decades.
“Technology that cost thousands of dollars 20 years ago now costs tens of dollars today,” said Wayne Pavalko, science advisor to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain. “It’s off-the-shelf technology and we hope the youth today realize how easy it is to program and consider pursuing their education in the sciences. It’s nice to show the Bahraini youth that the Navy does much more than just the military stuff.”
For some students their interest was peaked by the displays.
“I learned many things about what the Navy does, what types of missions they do and how the ships work,” said Mohammad Alemadi, student at the Creativity Private School. “I’m very interested in the robots because I’d like to pursue my education in engineering.”
In addition to exhibiting high-tech gadgetry utilized onboard NSA Bahrain, the expo also provided the opportunity to help the Navy integrate with Bahraini youth.
“I don’t think the Bahraini youth have much interaction with Navy Sailors,” said Michele Kimpel Guzman, deputy public affairs officer for the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain. “This expo gives them the rare opportunity to speak with military service personnel and learn about what they do in Bahrain.”
Great things have the humblest beginnings and event organizers hope the same holds true for the BYSAT Expo.
“We’re starting out small right now but our goal is to grow bigger,” said Watkins. “We’d like to invite more students and incorporate multiple schools into the program.”
For many students it’s safe to say that the goals of inspiring them have been accomplished.
“I’m really interested in all of these things!” said Wasan Aladwan, student at the Creativity Private School. “My favorite part was visiting the CCB and learning about how the engines operate. I’m going to tell all my friends about all the cool things they had here and if there’s another trip I’ll be the first one to sign up!”
For further questions, please contact Naval Support Activity Bahrain Public Affairs Office 011-973-1785-4520 firstname.lastname@example.org