Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) participated in the outdoor Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Laboratory during Naval Air Station Oceana’s annual Air Show held in Virginia Beach, Va., Sept. 20-22.
The event drew nearly 12,000 students from Virginia Beach and Chesapeake City Public Schools where they interacted with STEM related stations provided by organizations across the Department of Defense (DoD) and NASA.
MARMC’s station took students step-by-step through the development process of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) used in the SeaPerch program, culminating in a hands on experience with ROVs in a large water filled pool. One of the main components involved in the development process was a 3D printer used in the manufacturing of ROV parts.
“We’re trying to let the kids see how we incorporate 3D printing into everyday life,” said MARMC Mechanical Planning Engineering Technician Arvin Persaud. “We show them how we build components of the ROV using recycled PVC parts, why we use the ROVs and how the ROV is used in the Navy.”
In addition to the SeaPearch program, MARMC also participates in the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) program, which uses the Triggerfish robot and is a step up from the SeaPerch as explained by Machinist Mate Nuclear 1st Class Trey Burns.
“Triggerfish uses four motors instead of three and overall is more complex than the SeaPearch. High school students fully build these kits from the ground up – from the motor controllers to the frame itself,” said Burns. “The whole project is really in depth with a lot of time and effort going into it. At the end of the program there is a competition comprised of schools in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.”
MARMC partners with Norfolk Naval Shipyard in their STEM community outreach events and visits many local schools and military installations in an effort to get kids excited about pursuing a career in STEM.
“There is a significant need for people to work in STEM related jobs across DoD,” said Norfolk Naval Shipyard Nuclear Engineer Erica Shenae Miranda. “We partner with MARMC for all of these events, including a summer camp where we can engage more closely with students from local schools. This year we did a drone project for the first time and it was very successful given the age of the students.”
MARMC provides surface ship maintenance, management and oversight of private sector maintenance and fleet technical assistance to ships in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and provides support to the 5th and 6th fleet areas of responsibilities.