By Scott Curtis
SERMC Public Affairs
Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC) hosted more than 130 students - comprised into 37 teams from 18 schools in two states - at the 2nd annual Greater Jacksonville SeaPerch Challenge April 8 at the Cecil Aquatic Center.
More than 100 SERMC military and civilian volunteers dedicated their time over the past year to ensure this was a successful event.
SeaPerch is a national educational program that seeks to engage middle and high school students by using a "hands-on" approach to STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. Teams build an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from a kit, and follow curriculum that focuses on engineering and science concepts with a marine engineering theme.
SERMC Commanding Officer Capt. Dave Gombas said, "It's a privilege to host SeaPerch again; the teams put so much work into their ROVs and have produced some really exciting results."
"It's great to see STEM inspire such creativity, critical thinking, teamwork and leadership," he added.
Team Coach William Hudson, whose team from Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School won first place, said that participation in this regional competition was enhanced by SERMC Sailors.
"The motivation and involvement of our SERMC volunteers has been remarkable," Hudson said. "The relationships they built with the students and the level of expertise they fostered have been rewarding to our kids and us as teachers."
"As educators, we are always seeking moments of discovery from our students. The SeaPerch program and competition allowed us to witness these moments with regularity," Hudson added.
Machinery Repairman 2nd Class Lisa Petyak, whose Navy job applies to STEM, was just one of the SERMC Sailors who volunteered their time and expertise to help these students complete their ROVs.
"Going through the process of building their ROV, and watching them compete in the pool, was an awesome experience. Especially seeing how excited the students were was a great feeling."
The SeaPerch program is open to all middle and high school aged students, including home-schooled and youth organizations of all types. For more information about SeaPerch, visit www.seaperch.org.
For more information about SERMC, visit http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/RMC/SERMC/