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San Antonio sailor volunteers during SeaPerch Challenge

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - (Oct. 5, 2018) Left to right: Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class David Cumpian of Harlingen, Texas, Lt. Cmdr. Markel Zatarain of San Antonio, and Navy Counselor 1st Class Juan De Leon of Harlingen assigned to Navy Recruiting District (NRD) San Antonio served as judges during the U.S. Navy-sponsored SeaPerch Challenge Competition held at the Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center during the 2018 Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week (HESTEC). More than 35 middle and high school teams competed in the event which consisted of an underwater obstacle course, a challenge course, and team interviews. The winner of the competition was Los Fresnos School with Lopez High School placing second and Harlingen High School placing third. SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting. (U.S. Navy photo by Burrell Parmer, Navy Recruiting District San Antonio Public Affairs/Released)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – (Oct. 5, 2018) Continuing to spark students' interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Sailors of Navy Recruiting District (NRD) San Antonio put students' ingenuity to the test with a U.S. Navy SeaPerch Challenge Competition held at the Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center during the 17th Annual Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology (HESTEC) Week.

SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program sponsored by the Office of Naval Research that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in an in-school or out-of-school setting.

More than 35 five middle and high school teams from throughout the Rio Grande Valley participated in the competition which also served a SeaPerch regional qualifier.

After completing the obstacle and challenge courses, the teams were interviewed by Sailors assigned to NRD San Antonio and personnel from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).

According to Milton Hernandez, program coordinator, Division of Governmental and Community Relations for UTRGV, the annual competition continues to foster relationships between the schools in the area and motivates students to remain in STEM.

“The students really like this event,” said Milton. “Not only because it is tied to an international competition, but of the learning experience the students gain by building the ROV as a team.”

The winner of the competition was Los Fresnos High School with Lopez High School placing second and Harlingen High School placing third.

Javier Martinez, coach of Los Fresnos’ Team Millennium, said that the students knew they had to work hard to be the best.

“They knew that the team to beat was themselves,” said Martinez. “It means a lot to the students to advance to international competition again.”

Through the support of sponsors and partners, to include the U.S. Navy, HESTEC strives to empower teachers and administrators with the resources to inspire their students to pursue STEM careers through Educators Day, Student Leadership Day, Latina Day, Robotics Day, the STEM + ME Expo, and the Navy’s SeaPerch Challenge Competition.

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