June 27, 2018
CRANE, Ind. - Students from Indiana elementary, middle and high schools competed at the International SeaPerch Challenge at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. SeaPerch is a robotics program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) that gives students and teachers the resources to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The program is meant to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Nick Schmitter participated in SeaPerch as a student. Now, he works as an electrical engineer in the Risk Management Branch at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) and mentors students in the very same program.
“It’s rewarding to see the kids figure out a problem they had been struggling with,” said Schmitter. “When everything is finally in place, it just clicks.”
Students from Springs Valley, Mount Vernon, Bloomfield and Haubstadt Community Schools participated in the event. They competed with unique team names like “Water Dragon” and “Sea Irony.” Although the students didn’t take the top prizes, invaluable lessons were still learned.
“It’s rewarding and exciting to see the students not only get excited about the competition, but getting to know like-minded students,” said Tina Closser, NSWC Crane’s STEM Coordinator.
While competing in SeaPerch, students are exposed to engineering and technology that they otherwise might have had to wait until college to work with. The teams were required to create a ROV that could move cubes, sticks and rings from one platform to another, a task is easier said than done.
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with focus areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter.