Robots took a dive at Harlingen CISD’s Aquatic Center as the district hosted HESTEC 2016’s Navy SeaPerch Underwater Robotic Challenge for the very first time on October 7.
The annual event is part of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week.
Two HCISD schools walked away with the top awards. Harlingen High School and Early College High School took first place and second place respectively out of 33 participating schools from across the Rio Grande Valley.
Both teams will advance to the SeaPerch National Challenge to be held in May 2017.
“The Harlingen High School Engineering and Tech Club is proud to be representing Harlingen High School at the National SeaPerch Challenge in May 2017,” Pre-Engineering Teacher and Club Sponsor, Paul Tenison said. “The many hours of work and practice paid off, as did the experience gained at last year’s national event. Teams from as far away as Australia will be competing, so this is an excellent opportunity for our team to network and make connections with other students, colleges, scholarships and Navy recruiters.”
Teams were faced with the task of building an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that could successfully pass a series of challenges.
Contestants were judged by a point system that takes into consideration a timed finesse challenge, an obstacle course challenge, and the teams’ visual presentations.
In the final portion of the challenge, the top five teams interviewed with a group of judges and had the opportunity to discuss the design of their robot as well as their application of STEM concepts.
SeaPerch aims to inspire students to look into the STEM fields as a future career choice and opens their eyes to the opportunities that are available through the Navy.
“I am going into environmental engineering,” HHS senior, Vivian Lopez said. “If it weren’t for these types of events, I don’t think I would be going into the field. This experience has totally brought out a new side of me. My favorite part about robotics is the competition, because when it comes to game day, you get to show all the hard work that you put in.”