It was a day for the young and curious, when seventh- and eighth-grade All Saints Academy students visited KVH Industries, in Middletown, RI, in May. The local K-8 school is dedicated to a blended learning approach emphasizing science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) applications. The school definitely has tech on the mind: All Saints Academy won the 2015 Rhode Island state robotics competition; the students have spoken with the astronauts on the International Space Station; and they have cohorts with several universities in New England. They are exposed on a daily basis to aspects of robotics, coding, and graphic design.
We were thrilled when the students visited KVH Industries, a trip organized by All Saints Academy board member John Moy, who happens to be on the sales team for KVH’s Mobile Connectivity group.
When the students visited KVH Industries, they first checked out a movie showing examples of the company’s wide range of solutions for mobile connectivity and inertial navigation, for military, commercial, and maritime markets, among others. As one student observed: “That’s so cool! They do stuff with the military and drones!”
Bob Balog, KVH’s senior vice president for engineering, led the students through the engineering department, making the point that what the students are learning in school is used here every day. The students listened intently as he explained tracking satellites, multicasting technology, fiber optic gyros—and how all these things work in the real world. One student particularly liked the look of the satellite antennas: “It’s a really cool design.”
Nancy Martineau, KVH’s art director, led the students through the graphics and marketing departments, showing them the process for designing interactive landing pages for the web, and mock-ups of ads and brochures created in house. One student, who is interested in art, noted: “It’s cool how it can all be done on computers. There is so much you can do that you can’t do by hand.”
The students’ last stop was at KVH’s manufacturing facility, across the street from the main building. Alan Sylvestre, KVH’s director of manufacturing, showed them the factory floor, where all KVH’s satellite antenna systems are built. He pointed out the environmental and vibration testing chamber, and explained the soundproof frequency test chamber. At the end of the tour, one student summed up: “This is all so cool, I want to work here when I grow up!”