College Robotics Team Preparing for MATE International Challenge

Spring semester is now underway at Garrett College and the Robotics team is gearing up to design and build and underwater robot for the 12th annual international competition offered by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center in California. The event, slated for
June 20-22, 2013, will be held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington.   

    MATE, a national partnership of organizations funded as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center of Excellence since 1997, uses underwater robots – also known as remotely operated vehicles or ROVs – to teach science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and prepare students for technical careers. 

    According the competition coordinators, the Marine Technology Society ROV Committee working in partnership with MATE created the ROV competition to engage students in STEM and expose them to science and technology careers; encourage students to develop and apply technical, teamwork, and problem solving skills; and provide funds, materials, and technical expertise to support student learning, plus provide industry with skilled individuals who can fill workforce needs.

    Students taking part in this robotics competition also have the opportunity to develop many general work skills including problem solving, critical thinking, communicating effectively, project management as well as entrepreneurial skills, Dr. Yuan pointed out.

    Dr. Qing Yuan, Garrett College Director of Business and Internet Technology, spearheaded the establishment of the GC Robotics team last year and serves as an advisor to the group. “This will be a very exciting and very challenging undertaking for our students. We have several new members of the GC robotics team this year who were on the high school robotics team last year. They are very involved in this year’s project. We are so fortunate to have Phil Malone working as an advisor for the team’s success. Without his technical expertise, this whole process would not be possible. Kevin Bass, who is part of the GC Information Technology staff, also provides invaluable support to the team,” she said.

    Each year the MATE competition focuses on a new theme in order to expose students and educators to the many different aspects of the ocean workplace and the scientific and technological advancements that are taking place. The 2013 MATE competition highlights the role that ROVs play in the installation, operation, and maintenance of regional cabled ocean observing systems. Regardless of the theme, the competition always consists of underwater mission tasks, technical reports, engineering presentations, and poster displays.

    Last year the Garrett College robotics team participated in the MATE Pennsylvania Regional ROV Challenge in Philadelphia. Introducing its Underwater Robot, Squidward, the Team won the Rising Star Award and captured the third place Ranger Missions Award.

    “This year our team will compete in the Explorer Class Mission which is open to students in community and technical colleges and four-year universities. The specification and guideline documents were just recently released so our students can begin their work,” Dr. Yuan said.

    For more information on the GC Robotics Team or the Garrett College engineering program persons may contact Dr. Qing Yuan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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