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NPS Student Helps Connect Military Families With Her Camera

NPS Student Helps Connect Military Families With Her Camera

NPS student Lt. Meagan Way captures an image of a La Mesa family on their home’s front steps through her participation in the Front Steps Project, a grassroots effort gone viral that started in the Boston area to help connect families and neighbors sheltered in place while combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unprecedented shelter in place orders and social distancing, albeit for good reason, are tough, especially for military families eager to get to know their communities and neighbors. 

Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) student Lt. Meagan Way felt the distance between her and her neighbors first-hand. When a friend told her about a viral grassroots effort near Boston to foster connections within a community through photographs, she knew exactly what to do.

“I love doing things in my community! I’m an NPS student, but outside of class, I love to volunteer,” said Way. “I have a friend who mentioned the Front Steps Project and I knew it would be a hit around here.”

Way reached out to families through Social Media and her connections to NPS clubs residing in military communities across the Peninsula, including Doe Park, Fitch Park, La Mesa and Hayes Park. At a designated time, the families gather on their front porch, and Way with camera in hand captures the moment. 

The portraits are posted on a Social Media space dedicated to military families in the area, providing an opportunity for these small communities to get to know each other a little better. And she added her own unique spin on the project by giving each family a copy of the portrait she takes. 

At the end of the day, Way has captured a view of each of these families, at least 40 of them at last count, at one of the most unprecedented, challenging times in our nation’s history. 

“The purpose of these photos is to bring a little bit of fun and sunshine into this dreary COVID-19 situation,” said Way. “I want to bring neighbors together and show that we are all in this together!”

Way is enrolled in the university’s Network Operations and Technology curriculum, with just two quarters remaining until graduation. She was commissioned through the Officer Candidate School program. Originally from Munford, Tenn., she attended the University of Memphis where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. 

Way came to NPS from VAQ-132 where she served as the automated data processing officer and security manager, including a collateral duty as the public affairs officer. She volunteers several hours a week at the Monterey Military Attic, a non-profit thrift store where donated items are free to military and DOD members. She is also a volunteer member of NPS’ Del Monte Brass. 

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