MELBOURNE, Fla., May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Demonstrating a longstanding commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently honored the winners of the company-sponsored Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase at Florida Tech. Each spring, students design and build original projects from robots to rockets and conduct innovative research projects.
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In 2009, Northrop Grumman made a $1 million endowment to Florida Tech to sponsor the competition and support the university's commitment to prepare students for industry careers and graduate studies. The annual showcase draws more than 90 industry leaders to the university's Melbourne campus to judge student projects covering 12 engineering and science disciplines.A group from Northrop Grumman's Space Park facility in Redondo Beach, Calif. visited the institute to interact with students and faculty on their areas of research and find the intersections where academics meet industry needs. The team honored this year's winning teams at a luncheon held May 2. "Engaging with students of this caliber, with the disciplines and sciences that are represented here, allows us to excite students about programs, projects and missions that are important to Northrop Grumman and to the nation," said Jeff Grant, sector vice president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, general manager of Space Systems and Florida Tech alumnus. "Being the sponsor of the design showcase and seeing the results is just remarkable." On the evening of May 1, more than 150 people from Florida's Space Coast, including Florida Tech students and faculty, employees from Northrop Grumman's Melbourne facility and the public filled the Gleason Performing Arts Center to participate in a forum moderated by T. Dwayne McCay, Florida Tech's executive vice president and chief operating officer. Grant gave an overview of Northrop Grumman's space technology portfolio, including programs such as NASA's James Webb Space Telescope that are leading the next generation into space. Blake Bullock, Webb Telescope campaign lead and business development manager for Northrop Grumman, discussed Webb's science mission, and Scott Willoughby, vice president and Webb program manager for Northrop Grumman, explained the engineering challenges behind building the most advanced space telescope ever constructed. Willoughby discussed the innovative technologies that have gone into Webb's design and development, saying, "At Northrop Grumman, we do innovative things that no one else can do." The presentation was followed by a lively Q-and-A session, with faculty, students and the general public asking questions about engineering and advice on how to succeed in STEM careers. Bullock encouraged the students in the audience to "come help us find solutions to the hard questions that haven't been answered yet."