FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 12, 2011
By Corporate Strategic Communications, Office of Naval Research
ARLINGTON, Va. – In support of National Robotics Week, scheduled April 9-17, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has co-sponsored two regional events aimed at encouraging student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
More than 100 students from 20 Baltimore middle schools are expected to participate in the SeaPerch competition, to be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 13 at Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus. By teaching students how to build an underwater robot from a low-cost kit, the SeaPerch program introduces pre-college youth to engineering, science and ship/submarine design.
ONR also co-sponsored the Greater D.C. Botball Tournament on April 9 at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va., where more than 38 teams participated in a mini robotic competition. The Botball Educational Robotics program engages middle- and high-school-age students in a team-oriented contest based on national science education standards.
The SeaPerch partnership with National Robotics Week has helped the program advance into more rural communities, said Dr. Kam Ng, deputy director of research for ONR. “As a result of the successful National Robotics Week promotion, we have gained 55 new teams,” Ng said. “During 2010, the SeaPerch program reached 36 states, delivered 3,500 kits, trained more than 1,800 teachers/mentors and 16,000 students.”
Part of a nationwide effort to encourage student interest in the STEM disciplines, Robotics Week is the result of a 2009 initiative by leading universities and companies to create a “national road map” for robotics technology. That industry has yielded a broad array of next-generation products and applications in fields as diverse as manufacturing, health care, national defense and security, agriculture and transportation, according to the organizers’ website.
ONR has a history of investing in the next generation of naval scientists and engineers with its many programs that nourish K-12 and university students. For the past two years, ONR has backed Washington, D.C.’s McKinley Technology High School and Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School (shown right with Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Nevin Carr) at the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition.
At this year’s local contest, held March 24-26, 14 schools from the district were among 63 battling it out to advance in the national event. Although the two ONR-sponsored schools did not progress to the national level, students said the experience helped develop their knowledge and understanding of robotics.
For more information:
• Watch FIRST Robotics Competition highlights on ONR's official YouTube page
• SeaPerch: Contact Kelly Cooper at Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 696-0869
• Learn more about National Robotics Week
About the Office of Naval Research
The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.