Grant allows robotics program to develop
Students build remotely operated vehicles for water surveillance
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.