Harlingen, Los Fresnos Students Back from International Sea Perch Competition

Harlingen High School and Los Fresnos High School represented UTRGV at the International Sea Perch Competition, held June 1-3 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Harlingen won first place and Los Fresnos placed second at the regional competition, organized by the UTRGV Office of Community Relations and the U.S. Navy. UTRGV Courtesy Photo

Harlingen High School and Los Fresnos High School represented UTRGV at the International Sea Perch Competition, held June 1-3 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Harlingen won first place and Los Fresnos placed second at the regional competition, organized by the UTRGV Office of Community Relations and the U.S. Navy. UTRGV Courtesy Photo

by Letty Fernandez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The Harlingen High School SeaPerch team placed 18th overall out of 75 teams at the International Sea Perch Competition, June 1-3 at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The five-member team also placed 14th in the engineering notebook portion of the competition.

Harlingen High School earned the right to attend the international event after winning UTRGV’s HESTEC SeaPerch Challenge regional competition, organized by the UTRGV Office of Community Relations and the U.S. Navy.

Students making the trip were Ryan Arnold, Nathaniel Bauer, Coltin Lopez, Mia Lopez and Arlette McClain.

“It was great to meet people from all over the world at the competition,” said Arnold, president of the Harlingen High School Engineering and Tech Club. “We saw amazing, different ways to design our ROV, and learned that we need to continue to work hard to achieve our goals.”

Arnold and Bauer, both graduating seniors, had to miss their high school graduation ceremony on June 2, the same day as the SeaPerch Competition.

Paul Tenison, Pre-Engineering teacher and STEM practicum coordinator, said they presented them with their diplomas while watching a live feed of the graduation.

“During the graduation ceremony, pictures of the boys were put on the jumbo screen when their names were called,” Tenison said. “Ryan and Nathaniel were very excited.”

Ryan Arnold and Nathaniel Bauer, both Harlingen High School graduating seniors, had to miss their high school graduation. But while they were at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for the International Sea Perch Competition, they were presented their diplomas while watching a live feed of the graduation ceremony. UTRGV Courtesy Photo

Ryan Arnold and Nathaniel Bauer, both Harlingen High School graduating seniors, had to miss their high school graduation. But while they were at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for the International Sea Perch Competition, they were presented their diplomas while watching a live feed of the graduation ceremony. UTRGV Courtesy Photo

SeaPerch gives students the chance to learn about robotics and the STEM fields, while building an ROV (underwater remotely operated vehicle) and applying engineering concepts, problem-solving skills and technical applications.

Los Fresnos High School, which came in second at the HESTEC SeaPerch Challenge, placed 58th overall at the International SeaPerch Competition.

“Underwater robotics competitions, like SeaPerch, expose students to problem-solving environments where the engineering design has to take into account the physics of water and the limitations it imposes on robot movement and operator visibility,” said Javier Martínez, Los Fresnos engineering teacher and coach.

Isaiah Martínez, Alexis Luna, Issac Escareno, Natalia Flores and Jose Trujillo represented Los Fresnos High School.

Javier Garcia, director of UTRGV STEM Community Outreach Programs, said the SeaPerch competition is an important vehicle for building interest in STEM in young people.

“At UTRGV, we are so proud of the work the students produced and the dedication all coaches provide to the HESTEC SeaPerch Challenge,” Garcia said. “The competition gets more challenging every year.  We congratulate the students and their coaches for representing our region.”

The UTRGV Office of Community Relations is planning the next regional SeaPerch competition, which will take place in Brownsville in early October during Hispanic Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC) Week.

For more information, visit www.utrgv.edu/hestec/

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