MATE to travel to International Competition
Earlier this month, the Mount Olive High School Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) team competed at the MATE Pennsylvania Regional Competition held at Villanova University. At the competition, the students qualified for their second consecutive MATE International Competition, which will be held in Kingsport, TN in June.
The MATE team also received the following team awards at the PA competition: 1st Place in Engineering Presentation, 1st Place in Sportsmanship, 2nd Place Overall Regional Winner, 3rd Place in Product Demonstration, and the Region's Exemplary STEM Coach Award.
Jessica Tierney, MATE team member and CMO, described the process the students undertook this school year: "We designed our ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) with the ideas of modularity, serviceability, versatility, and manufacturability in mind. We designed our ROV by breaking into subteams: design, electrical and control systems, and marketing. This allowed people to focus on different aspects of the ROV in a timely manner."
Abigail Faluotico, a member of the electrical team said, "Design went to work using our CAD software, Fusion 360, while Programming started building our code for our GUI (Graphical User Interface) from scratch. Electrical began by deciding which electronics to put in our ROV and then wiring them all together on a prototype board for testing."
The first task that the students faced with their ROV was to ensure public safety by inspecting and repairing a hydroelectric dam. The second task involved monitoring water quality, determining habitat diversity, and restoring the habitat. The third task was about preserving history and recovering a Civil War era cannon. All of the tasks were completed using props to simulate real situations. This year's task also required the use of a mini ROV, in addition to the larger ROV unit.
Soumya Khera said one of the challenges the team faced was a designing a lift bag for the cannon due to the unknown dimensions. The team had to be able to face these challenges through brainstorming, prototyping, and testing.
Robert Van Zee, a member of the team, said, "Individually, I gained interpersonal skills and I gained confidence when speaking to a large audience. As a team, we all gained knowledge on how to prevent future errors as well as skills needed to troubleshoot present errors."
In addition to these simulated tasks, the MATE team also completed various community outreach programs, informing people about the dangers of plastic waste and running various drives to raise money for ocean conservation and research. Tierney hopes to do more of this next year during her senior year. She said, "I plan to educate others more on the impact humans have on the environment and their effects on the marine animals. Another goal for next year is to start building our ROV earlier so we can challenge ourselves more."
Faluotico enjoyed competing throughout this school year and said, "As we participated in our first competition of the season, I had a ton of fun competing with the other teams. It was nice to see other people who work just as hard as we do, and even though we were supposed to be competing with them I was so happy for everyone when they would win trophies or do well. Even though it's a competition, we all still try to help one another and it's just a great environment and experience."
Mr. Dave Bodmer, advisor for MATE, said, "This year was technically challenging, but this group worked through those challenges to develop an impressive ROV. The students and mentors are excited and proud of their accomplishments and are looking forward to the new challenges that lie ahead next month."
Sandshore Elementary School
498 Sandshore Rd
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
Mountain View Elementary School
118 Cloverhill Drive
Flanders, NJ 07836
Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
Mt. Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road
Budd Lake, NJ 07828