Two students pose with underwater robot

Georgia Tech to host 7th National SeaPerch Challenge Underwater Robotics Championships


More than 1,500 students, teachers, coaches and other participants will attend the 7th National SeaPerch Underwater Robotics Championships hosted by the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The event will be held at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) McAuley Aquatic Center.

SeaPerch is a robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). More than 200 student teams comprised of regional winners from middle and high schools as well as from 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, home schoolers, and other groups who have earned the right to compete against their peers on the national stage.

During the competition, the students will test their vehicles, navigate an obstacle course and complete in specific challenges. Each team will also present their understanding of engineering principles and design concepts through an Engineering Notebook.

“At Georgia Tech, we’re creating the next generation of scientists and engineers to solve the world’s most difficult problems, and at Georgia Tech Research Institute, those solutions come to life for our customers,” said Leigh McCook, GTRI division chief and director of STEM outreach programs. “It’s important for us to be involved with initiatives like SeaPerch because they stimulate excitement for careers in STEM. We need these students at Georgia Tech so we can continue meet the demand for STEM workers at GTRI and throughout the economy.”

The SeaPerch Program is the innovative K-12 underwater robotics program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and managed by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation (AUVSI). The competition provides students with the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts and careers while building an underwater ROV as part of a science and engineering technology curriculum. Throughout the project, student teams will learn to use the engineering and scientific process to solve problems including design principles, buoyancy and displacement, propulsion, tool safety and usage, circuitry, ergonomics, depth measurement, and physics of motion, force and light. To learn more, visit

GTRI’s STEM initiative – STEM@GTRI – aims to inspire, engage and impact Georgia educators and students by providing access to experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Through this interaction, we hope to improve academic performance in STEM subjects, encourage students to pursue educational and career opportunities in these areas, as well as provide materials for teachers to strengthen their STEM-related curriculum. To learn more, visit


Schedule of Events

Opening Ceremony: 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Georgia Tech McAuley Aquatics Center

Dr. Andrew Gerber, GTRI Director

Leigh McCook, GTRI Division Chief & Director of STEM Outreach

Capt. Dave Bouve, Director of Advertising and Marketing
Navy Recruiting Command 

Cmdr. Luis Molina, Deputy Head Sea Warfare and Weapons Department
Office of Naval Research 

Pool Competition & Engineering Notebook Presentations: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Awards Ceremony: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Georgia Tech McAuley Aquatics Center

Lizanne DeStefano, Ph.D., Executive Director 
Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathmatics and Computing (CEISMC)

Capt. Michael R. Coughlin, Commanding Officer
Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division


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