USM building

Photo/Kevan Lindsey

Ocean engineering students Andrew “Drew” Smith and Joseph Bell teamed up to represent The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) recently in a national debate competition sponsored by Lockheed Martin.

Smith, a senior from Madison, Miss., and Bell, a junior from Waveland, Miss., participated in the fourth annual Ethics in Engineering Case Competition held last month in a virtual format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Twenty-six colleges and universities, each represented by a two-student undergraduate team and accompanying faculty, presented their solutions to a fictional case involving ethical, business and engineering dilemmas. The event also provided opportunities for students to learn about Lockheed Martin and its technologies, including a Q&A session that allows students to ask questions from a panel of Lockheed Martin employees and recruiters.

Dr. Mustafa Kemal Cambazoglu, assistant professor of ocean engineering at USM, served as the team’s faculty representative for the Lockheed Martin competition. He praised the diligent efforts of Smith and Bell, who made it past the first round of the competition and narrowly missed reaching the final eight of the three-day event.

“I thought Drew and Joe had a great competition and a great experience by participating. I told them that I applaud both for accepting my invitation and devoting the time toward the competition during the preparations as well as during the competition itself,” said Cambazoglu.

During the fall 2020 semester, Smith and Bell took Cambazoglu’s course – “Engineering Ethics and Safety Culture,” which led to their participation in the Lockheed competition.

“Both turned in excellent essays with in-depth ethical analysis of the engineering cases we studied as part of weekly written assignments, as well as their selected cases for a final term paper,” said Cambazoglu. “As the best performing senior and junior in the class, they were invited to participate in the competition.”

With its renowned Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Marine Education Center, and School of Ocean Science and Engineering, USM is a recognized leader in marine and ocean science. Cambazoglu notes that having students compete on a national debate stage further enhances the University’s profile.

“I think it was very important to raise awareness of our ocean engineering program,” he said. “This was our first participation in this competition and participation in future conferences will ensure that the students coming out of our program will uphold ethical values to their careers and always do the right thing.”

To learn more about USM’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering, call 228.214.9010 or visit: