Carderock, University of Iowa Sign Education Partnership

An Educational Partnership Agreement was signed February 26 between the University of Iowa and the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division at Carderock's West Bethesda, MD, headquarters.

"The idea is to get students interested in hydrodynamics," said UI Engineering alumnus Dr. Thad Michael (PhD 2013), a naval architect with Carderock's Propulsors Branch and the partnership program manager for the EPA. Michael received his doctorate in mechanical engineering and  computational hydrodynamics.

The partnership started with a naval hydrodynamic certificate program for undergraduates, which is intended to provide students with a solid technical and leadership background that helps graduates to thrive in civilian careers in Navy science and technology positions, and in supporting industry.

Pablo Carrica, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and faculty research engineer at IIHR--Hydroscience & engineering; and James Buchholz, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and associate faculty research engineer at IIHR, received a grant in 2015 from the US Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, for "Engaging Undergraduates and High School Students in Naval Science & Technology." Carrica and Buchholz established the certificate program in naval hydrodynamics within the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department so that students can obtain formal education in the area and recognition for their participation in the program. Engineering alumnus Sean Seelau was the first to graduate in 2017 with the certificate (

Even before the EPA was formalized, Michael said Carderock has had a partnership with the University of Iowa, and he and other Carderock employees have advised student projects, via Skype or teleconference, at the university. He said their partnership has been funded by the Office of Naval Research, which provided the school with a small tow tank that the students can operate themselves and is housed in the Fluids Workshop in the new Annex to the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences at the university (

Dr. John Barkyoumb, Carderock's director of strategic relations, heads Carderock's EPA programs. "The program is geared toward public school systems and colleges that want to partner with the Navy to increase awareness for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career paths, potentially leading them to a career in a Navy lab," he said.

The University of Iowa is the 15th EPA that Carderock currently has with schools and colleges. EPA partnerships allow schools to tap into the vast resources at Carderock, such as the engineers and scientists and their expertise pertaining to naval warfare science and technology; the base's world-class facilities and equipment; and computer software and analytics.

Carderock has several employees who are University of Iowa graduates, working on projects such as the Very Large Test Apparatus being tested at Carderock's Large Cavitation Channel in Memphis, TN. Also, former Carerock employees have gone on to teach at the University of Iowa, such as the late professor and  Legacy of Iowa Engineering member Louis Landweber (, once the head of the Hydrodynamics Division at Carderock. Landweber initiated Iowa's major ship hydrodynamics research program, which continues under Fred Stern, George D. Ashton Professor of Hydroscience and Engineering, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and faculty research engineer at IIHR.

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Ricardo Mantilla, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and assistant faculty research engineer at IIHR, watches water flow through a flume in the Fluids Workshop in the new Annex to the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences.