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    Navy Hosts SeaPerch Challenge In Puerto Rico



    Story by Chief Petty Officer Kathleen Gorby 

    Navy Recruiting District Miami

    VILLALBA, Puerto Rico – Sailors from Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Miami hosted the regional SeaPerch challenge in partnership with Residential Center of Educational Opportunities at Villalba, in Villalba, Puerto Rico, March 2.

    SeaPerch is an underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting.

    The U.S. Navy has participated in SeaPerch for six years, lead by Joe Chada, the education services specialist at NRD Miami. Mr. Chada travels around the district introducing SeaPerch to schools and attending challenges with local Navy recruiters.

    “Some of the schools are very reluctant to let the military in,” said Chief Navy Career Counselor Luciano Reyes. “By us coming in to help Mr. Chada with the program, it opens the door for us to talk to students, not just about the Navy, but experiences in life.”

    The role of the Navy recruiters at the SeaPerch Challenge is to act as judges and advisors, timing each team and ensuring their ROV completes all assigned Tasks. Additionally, recruiters will act as divers to untangle tethers that become entwined in the course.

    “I love volunteering at events like this,” said Reyes. “It shows that the Navy supports them, it shows that the Navy is big on engineering and it shows them that there is a platform for them to do engineering in the Navy.”

    The Navy’s participation in the SeaPerch program has brought about several success stories. One of those success story is Abiel Virella Lopez, from Coame, Puerto Rico. He is currently a part of the Collegiate Nuclear Officer Program and he will be commissioned as a Nuclear Officer when he graduates from college this year.

    The SeaPerch program was developed eight years ago with the dual goals of introducing students to engineering at an early age and to get more females interested in engineering.

    “We noticed the lack of women engineers in universities and colleges and set about to fix that problem,” said Chada. “The idea of this program was to take and develop an interest in engineering with the female population, which it has done considerably.”

    More than 20, 2-person teams from 4 different schools around Puerto Rico participated in the challenge. SeaPerch is just the first step. It is the starter program for any kids interestedin learning more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), it is geared for the K-12 audience.

    Julianna Smith, communications and outreach specialist at RoboNation, spoke about other programs offered by RoboNation, such as SeaGlide that follow the student as they progress from grade school to college. “We have 6 more programs that follow, more completion based, that are geared more towards high school and collegiate students.”

    RoboNation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a pathway of hands-on educational experiences that empower students to find innovative solutions to global challenges.

    “We wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the tremendous support we receive form the Navy,” said Smith. “Being a nonprofit, RoboNation has 12 staff members and the Navy’s help and participation at events is critical for overall success.”

    The first and second place finishers will head to Maryland for Internationals at the end of May.



    Date Taken: 03.02.2019
    Date Posted: 03.07.2019 09:32
    Story ID: 313302
    Location: VILLALBA, PR 

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