High School Students’ Underwater Robots Compete during STEM Summer Camp

June 17, 2014

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Teams of high school students from around Texas participated in series of ROV (remotely operated vehicle) underwater manipulation and navigation contests on Saturday, June 14, at the University pool during the “STEM Summer Institute: Underwater Robotics” at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The competition, which focuses on the innovation of technology to improve ROV’s navigation and grasping capabilities, is part of the College of Science and Engineering’s fourth “STEM Summer Institute: Underwater Robotics” educational program held June 8-14.

Awards were presented Saturday afternoon. Below is a list of categories and recipients. First place winners received iPads. First and second place winners received trophies.

  • Best inventor: Angelo Romo, University High in Waco, Texas
  • Best presentation: Tristan Cortez, Dublin High in Dublin, Texas
  • Best bridge:  Tristan Cortez, Alexander Kuan, Foy H. Moody High in Corpus Christi; and Benjamin Segura, Hendrickson High in Round Rock
  • 2nd place ROV competition: Tristan Cortez, Alexander Kuan, and Benjamin Segura
  • 1st place ROV competition:  Angelo Romo, William Granberry, Flour Bluff High in Corpus Christi; and Eduardo Coello, IDEA Frontier College Prep in Brownsville

The STEM Summer Institute prepares the next generation of scientists and engineers for future careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, often referred to as STEM fields. The camp introduces teens to exciting oceanography research and engineering opportunities, with an emphasis in ROV operation.  Earlier in the week, student teams designed several attachments for the ROV that will be used to fetch items underwater during the competition.

Students stayed on the Island University campus and experienced a week-long series of lectures, exercises, hands-on activities, design and prototyping, field trips, and project competitions with prizes and incentive. 

“Always bring your calculator because you never know when you’re going to need it,” said camper Alexander Kuan from Moody High School in Corpus Christi. “And, never be afraid to compromise when you are working with a team.”

John Morris, a camper from Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, said the camp helped him test his engineering creative designs.

“The competition is a great environment to learn and improve on my own ideas in engineering,” he said. “You never know what will work, if something is good or not, until you try everything.”

This year’s STEM Summer Institute was sponsored by Time Warner Cable through its Connect A Million Minds initiative. Time Warner Cable has committed $100 million of cash and in-kind resources to their five-year philanthropic Connect a Million Minds initiative, addressing America’s continuing decline in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math by inspiring students to pursue STEM-based educational activities. This goal to connect one million young people to hands-on STEM learning opportunities and resources was reached on May 27. The milestone comes less than five years after President Obama and TWC announced this commitment in response to the White House’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which is designed to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade.

Other event sponsors include HEB, Coastal Bend Community Foundation and A&M-Corpus Christi ROTC Battalion.