Teams Face-Off at the MATE ROV New England Regional Competition


​​​​On 4 May 2019, thirteen high school teams from New England and New York met at Sandwich STEM Academy/Sandwich High School for the MATE ROV New England Regional Competition. These Ranger level teams had worked over the previous 6 months to brain-storm, design, build, refine and practice with their ROVs to complete complex, challenging underwater missions related to this year's real-world theme of inland waterways, dams, environmental remediation and underwater archeology. There are 24 Regional MATE competitions in the US and an additional 13 world-wide. The 60 to 70 winning Ranger and college level Explorer teams, totaling around 650 students from the regional competitions, will travel to the MATE International Championship – this year being held in Kingsport, Tennessee in late June.

High School MATE Competitors Test ROV in Pool

Additionally, the MATE New England Regional Scout level competition this year for middle-school students was also held on 4 May. Twenty students and staff from Bristol Community College in Fall River organized all of the judging, safety checks and underwater mission props – the experiences the community college students get running the competition, networking with industry professionals and mentoring young competitors has been shown to be immensely valuable in their career advancement. The Scout teams do less complex underwater missions in the shallow end of the pool, and are evaluated on their engineering notebooks, poster presentations and underwater missions. The Scout level competitions mimic the Ranger and Explorer challenges but at a level that is appropriate for middle school students or first year teams.

The MATE Competitions are organized and run by volunteers from industry, educational and research institutions as well as local community college students and maritime cadets. For the past 10 years, Teledyne Marine has been a leading supporter of the MATE New England Regional Competition, providing top-echelon industry professionals for judging of technical reports, underwater missions, posters, engineering evaluations and safety checks. Additionally, Teledyne's commitment to sponsorship of Regional and International competitions has had a significant impact on MATE's ability to accomplish the goals of its many-faceted mission.

The regional coordinator for MATE is former Teledyne Benthos employee C. Eben Franks – Eben is immensely appreciative of the dedication, powerful, positive leadership and generosity of the local Teledyne employees for their long-standing support. It truly is the epitome of corporate responsibility and all involved can take pride in seeing the next generation of engineers, technicians and scientists rising to meet real-world challenges.

Here's a summary of MATE's mission:  

The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center was established with funding from the National Science Foundation in 1997. MATE's mission is to use marine technology to inspire and challenge students to learn and creatively apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to solving real-world problems in a way that strengthens critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation.  A hallmark of all MATE's programs, products, and services is that they are aligned with ocean workforce research and trends.

The MATE Center has five major, synergistic Goals to accomplish their mission​​: 

Goal 1:  Expand and strengthen academic and industry partnerships and align academic programs with workforce needs.  

Goal 2:  Research ocean workforce trends, disseminate innovative educational products based on those trends, and encourage the integration of entrepreneurial practices into program activities.     

Goal 3:  Provide opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate with industry and working professionals.

Goal 4:  Provide professional development for college and secondary school faculty.

Goal 5:  Maintain an information clearinghouse.

The MATE Center also receives funding from NSFs Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program and the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.  Additional support comes from industry sponsorships and SeaMATE Store sales.  

More info about the MATE ROV Competition:

The MATE ROV Competition uses remotely operated vehicles (a.k.a. underwater robots) to inspire and challenge students to learn and creatively apply science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to solve real-world problems and strengthen their critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The competition engages students from elementary school through college in STEM, encourages them to develop 21st-century workplace skills, and helps them to envision themselves in pathways to careers.

Established with funding from the National Science Foundation at Monterey Peninsula College in 1997, the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center worked in partnership with the Marine Technology Society's ROV Committee to create the competition. The first event kicked off in 2001.

Fifteen years later, MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II) incorporated in the state of California as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2016.  MATE II was founded to support and sustain ongoing education activities initiated at the MATE Center. These activities include the MATE ROV Competition.

More information can be found at the MATE website: ​