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More than 1,300 middle and high school students from across the country, plus Australia, the Cayman Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, competed in an underwater robotics championship, the National SeaPerch Challenge, on Saturday, May 21, at Louisiana State University. More than 190 teams maneuvered their hand-built remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, through an underwater obstacle course at the LSU natatorium. After placing third in the regional competition, five students from Houston Can Academy’s Hobby Campus participated in the national competition.

According to Dr. James Troutman, Houston Can Academy Hobby Campus Principal, “The competition allowed our students to see real opportunities for future study and work opportunities.  STEM education inspires my students to continue their studies in Math and Science so that they may participate in an increasingly technology based economy of scientists, engineers, architects and technology professionals.”

SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program where students build ROV’s from kits containing low-cost parts and follows a curriculum that teaches basic engineering and science concepts around a marine engineering theme. The students learn engineering concepts, problem solving, teamwork and technical applications while building an underwater ROV. Once the robot is constructed, it is tested and programmed to complete missions in a certain amount of time in order to advance in competition.

More than 80% of students involved in one of the SeaPerch programs across the country are now considering careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). As of 2016, there has been a SeaPerch program in each of the 50 states, plus Puerto Rico. SeaPerch is in ten countries and growing with over 300,000 student participants since the program’s inception in 2007. 

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