May 23—ALBANY — Albany State University has partnered with Marine Advanced Technology Education (M.A.T.E.) STREAMWORKS to assist in its efforts of educating young students about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
"Albany State University is proud to partner with the M.A.T.E. Underwater Robotics competition," Vice President of Institutional Advancement A.L. Fleming said in a news release. "This is a great opportunity that encourages students to learn and apply STEM to create solutions for important issues we face."
M.A.T.E. STREAMWORKS held its first underwater robotics competition with Baconton Community Charter School recently at the Jones Brothers Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Complex. This competition was the first of its kind in Albany.
"This event was a pilot test for a larger event to involve schools from all over southwest Georgia," Dennis Courtney, the founder, executive director and regional coordinator of STREAMWORKS, said. "The kids have been working hard for about eight weeks inventing these machines. There are multiple tasks the robots must accomplish in the pool within 5 minutes. All of this is designed to encourage kids to pursue a career in STEM."
Participants designed and built a remotely operated vehicle and the necessary sensors and tooling to tackle the real-world problems of plastics in our ocean, climate change's impact on coral reefs, and the consequences of poor environmental practices on our inland waterways.
The winners of the competition are seventh-graders Aby Shumate, Kennady Hurst and Amekah Keaton.
"We built a bigger frame, then sized it down to put in the motor," the students said. "Then we had to stabilize the machine, and solder the wires together. The net is on the machine to catch the ping pong balls in the water, which represent plastic in the ocean."
The students used PVC pipe and connecters, pool noodles, net and more to build the machines.