The 2015 National SeaPerch Challenge hosted 140 teams at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for what was the best National Challenge ever! The weekend began on Friday with team check-in and Movie Night featuring the new movie, Spare Parts, the RoboNation TV pilot episode and plenty of popcorn and pretzels.
Saturday morning started bright and early with Opening Ceremonies, where the over 1,100 attendees were welcomed by SeaPerch executive director, Susan Nelson and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Vice Provost, Magali Carrera. CAPT Robert E. Palisin II, USN encouraged teams to use the National SeaPerch Challenge as a starting point in a future STEM career. Poster judging, which began on Friday evening, wrapped up by lunch time on Saturday and the top eight teams in the high school, middle school, and open divisions advanced to the poster presentation phase of the competition. In the pool, teams used their expertise navigating the Obstacle Course and Finesse Challenge. The competition was intense as many teams successfully navigated both challenges. Teams found inspiration, made new friends, and gained knowledge as they shared their experiences in the team pit area.
The competition concluded with the Awards Ceremony, where Rear Admiral Thomas W. Marotta told the competitors how he became a successful engineer and Naval officer and challenged the students to pursue their goals to become the designers of the future. Donald F. McCormack, Executive Director of the Naval Surface and Undersea Warfare Centers emphasized the talent and potential exemplified by the students at the competition, particularly encouraging young women to pursue STEM careers. The highlight of the Awards Ceremony was the impromptu graduation ceremony for three students from Georgetown High School in Georgetown, TX, who elected to compete in the National Challenge rather than attend their own graduation ceremonies. After the competition, teams enjoyed a true college experience with an outdoor barbeque and party, complete with DJ, blow-up obstacle course and games.
SeaPerch would like to congratulate all of the teams who worked so hard to make it to the National SeaPerch Challenge, and we are looking forward to next year!
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Judging is both fun and rewarding. No experience is necessary for either the in-pool or poster judging.