Grant al­lows ro­bot­ics pro­gram to de­velop

Stu­dents build re­motely op­er­ated ve­hi­cles for wa­ter sur­veil­lance

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Kristi Garabrandt kgarabrandt@news-her­ @Kris­ti_G_1223 on Twit­ter

Stu­dents at Car­di­nal Mid­dle School in Mid­dle­field are tak­ing part in an un­der­wa­ter ro­bot­ics pro­grams af­ter re­ceiv­ing a STEM grant from First En­ergy.

STEM stands for sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics.

The $890 grant is be­ing used to pur­chase equip­ment that stu­dents will use to con­struct four un­der­wa­ter re­motely op­er­ated ve­hi­cles.

The East Geauga Ki­wa­nis also do­nated funds that the ro­bot­ics pro­gram will use to pur­chase an un­der­wa­ter cam­era for one of the ROVs.

“I am so ex­cited to have this op­por­tu­nity and bring this ex­pe­ri­ence to Car­di­nal Mid­dle School stu­dents,” grant re­cip­i­ent Chris­tine Schroeter said in a news re­lease. “The ROVs that we will be con­struct­ing are ac­tu­ally part of the SeaPerch pro­gram, which will pro­vide stu­dents with the op­por­tu­nity learn about those STEM com­po­nents ... but not only that, this will en­cour­age them to ex­plore naval ar­chi­tec­ture and ma­rine and ocean en­gi­neer­ing prin­ci­ples and ca­reers.”

Schroeter, a para­pro­fes­sional at Car­di­nal Mid­dle School, is also a lieu­tenant with the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps of the Akron Bat­tal­ion.

She is a na­tion­ally cer­ti­fied SeaPerch ROV trainer and has pro­vided train­ing to mem­bers of the mil­i­tary all over the world, the news re­lease stated.

There are cur­rently six stu­dents en­rolled in the ro­bot­ics pro­gram with the pos­si­ble ad­di­tion of two more. The pro­gram is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date up to eight stu­dents to­tal.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents were se­lected through an ap­pli­ca­tion process that in­volved sub­mit­ting the ap­pli­ca­tion along with a teacher’s ref­er­ence and an es­say on their in­ter­est in the project. The group, which meets for two hours a week, has been work­ing on learn­ing about the ro­bots prior to start­ing the as­sem­bly of them on Jan. 11.

Ac­cord­ing to Schroeter, the goal is to have all four ro­bots, which take 29 hours each to as­sem­ble, com­pleted by spring. The stu­dents are start­ing to work with power tools, build­ing the mo­tors and pack­ing them in wa­ter­proof­ing. They will then move on to sol­der­ing and the elec­tri­cal el­e­ments in­volved.

“We have a lot of in­tense work to do, but I think we have a great group of stu­dents and vol­un­teers as­sem­bled, and I’m con­fi­dent that th­ese ROVs will come to­gether as ex­pected,” Schroeter said in the news re­lease.

In ad­di­tion to Schroeter, the stu­dents also have an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer, a sci­ence teacher, a math teacher and two com­mu­nity vol­un­teers as­sist­ing them with the con­struc­tion of the ro­bots.

Once the ro­bots are com­pleted, the stu­dents, in a part­ner­ship with Geauga Park District, will use three of the ro­bots to sam­ple wa­ter qual­ity in the park district’s rivers and lakes, and pro­vide un­der­wa­ter sur­veil­lance with the fourth one, which will be equipped with a cam­era.

The First En­ergy grant is for in­struc­tional and not com­pet­i­tive use, so this year the stu­dents won’t be en­ter­ing any com­pe­ti­tion. But Schroeter hopes to con­tinue the pro­gram next year and have the stu­dents com­pet­ing with the ro­bots at a re­gional or even na­tional level.

“FirstEn­ergy has al­ways sup­ported ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties in com­mu­ni­ties served by The Il­lu­mi­nat­ing Co., par­tic­u­larly those that en­cour­age stu­dents to pur­sue ca­reers in crit­i­cal fields of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics,” said Dave Dil­lon, ex­ter­nal af­fairs man­ager for The Il­lu­mi­nat­ing Co. “We are pleased to as­sist with STEM projects which sup­port our stu­dents, schools, and ed­u­ca­tors as they work to build our re­gion’s fu­ture work­force.”


Para­pro­fes­sional Chris­tine Schroeter works with Car­di­nal Mid­dle School Stu­dents on as­sem­bling ROVs as part of an un­der­wa­ter ro­bot­ics pro­gram funded with a grant from FirstEn­ergy.

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