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MOA Signed by ODU and Norfolk Ship Support Activity Reflects Mutual Interest in STEM Education

A year's worth of work behind the scenes came to fruition Wednesday, May 22, when Old Dominion University and Norfolk Ship Support Activity (NSSA) signed a Memorandum of Agreement.

The MOA - created to increase cooperation between ODU and NSSA in areas of mutual interest, particularly in the role that STEM education plays in a viable future for the United States - was signed in ODU's Board of Visitors Room by ODU President John R. Broderick and Capt. William Galinis, commanding officer of NSSA.

During the brief ceremony, tribute was paid to the time-consuming work done by William Wease, student advocate at NSSA, and Beverly Forbes, director of experiential education with ODU's Career Management Center, to bring the agreement to the table.

Broderick said it was truly a win-win for the two groups to sign the MOA.

"For me, this was very simple. Any time the university has an opportunity to engage with our military members and organizations in Hampton Roads, that's a plus," Broderick said. With fully a fifth of ODU's 25,000 students having a direct connection to the nation's military, "there's nothing about this that isn't enduring and meaningful," he added.

Galinis, who assumed command of NSSA in October 2011, said his organization is, at its root, a problem-solving group.

"Our motto, 'We fix ships,' is what we do on a daily basis," Galinis said. "We send people around the world to do the vital and complicated work of keeping our fleet in the best working order that we can."

For that reason, the MOA emphasis on mutual interests in the STEM field is incredibly beneficial, Galinis said. "The opportunity to partner with Old Dominion University will bring in new, talented people through our center on a daily basis."

Since the establishment of NSSA, its mission has been to ensure the readiness of U.S. Navy vessels. NSSA has a consistent demand for highly trained, diverse professionals in engineering, technology and business to fulfill that mission.

As a comprehensive, forward-focused metropolitan research university, ODU has as its central purpose providing a diverse population of students with the best education possible, including opportunities for them to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers.

As such, both sides agree that the five-year MOA, which expresses their intention to work together to enhance cooperation, is consistent with their shared interests. Program activities for the MOA include many possible areas, such as:

  • ODU student internships with NSSA during the summer and/or the academic year;
  • NSSA participation in career fairs, mock interviews and other outreach to ODU students, faculty and alumni regarding NSSA employment opportunities;
  • NSSA participation in events whereby students can gain a realistic view of NSSA career fields and introduce them to career options they may not have considered;
  • NSSA staff participation in lectures, conferences and other events at ODU;
  • NSSA posting current job announcements via ODU's "Career Link";
  • NSSA staff members serving as mentors or coaches for ODU students;
  • Enhanced access by ODU's faculty and students to NSSA facilities to gain insights for STEM and business curriculum development and student career planning;
  • NSSA providing speakers to address STEM and business organizations; and
  • Enhancing career opportunities for NSSA employees through ODU's School of Continuing Education.

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