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The MATE Center: Addressing the Need for a Qualified Ocean Workforce

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Oceans & Marine Technical Session

Tagged Division

Ocean and Marine

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1479.1 - 22.1479.6



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Paper Authors


Deidre Sullivan Marine Advanced Technology Education Center

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Deidre Sullivan
Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center

Deidre Sullivan is the PI and Director of the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) in Monterey, CA. Deidre conducts workforce research related to marine and geospatial technologies. Deidre is also the department chair for the Marine Science and Technology program at Monterey Peninsula College and teaches courses in seaflooring mapping, GIS, and the Earth and marine sciences.

Deidre received her undergraduate degree in Aquatic Biology and Geology from UC Santa Barbara and has Master’s Degrees in Marine Geology, GIS/ Marine Resource Management from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and Oregon State University.

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Jill Marie Zande Marine Advanced Technology Education Center

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Jill Zande,
Associate Director & ROV Competition Coordinator,
Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center.

VP, Education and Research
Marine Technology Society (MTS).

Jill Zande is the Associate Director and ROV Competition Coordinator for the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center and the current VP of Education and Research for MTS. At the MATE Center, Jill’s role is to work closely with industry to ensure that educational programs are aligned with workforce needs and to facilitate partnerships among educators, students, employers, and working professionals. Jill maintains relationships with well over 100 businesses, research institutions, government agencies, and professional societies and with the 400+ middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities that participate in MATE ROV competitions each year.

Jill received her undergraduate degree in biology/minor in marine science from Penn State University and her Master’s degree in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University. Jill has been with MATE since 1998 and through her position has actively promoted the inclusion of ocean science and technology in formal and informal educational arenas.

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The MATE Center: Addressing the Need for a Qualified Ocean WorkforceThe Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center is one of more than 30 AdvancedTechnological Education Centers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Establishedin 1997 and headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California, the Center isa national partnership of community colleges, universities, research institutions, professionalsocieties, government organizations, and marine industries. MATE’s mission is to improvemarine technical education to help address the increasing need for an appropriately-trained andeducated ocean workforce.A number of prior reports have identified significant problems in educating, recruiting, andretaining U.S. workers for scientific, technological, and operational careers. Such workers arecritical for building and operating much of the nation’s infrastructure and for sustaining growthand innovation. The lack of appropriately educated workers is especially pronounced in rapidlyevolving ocean fields, such as deep water ocean exploration (especially oil and gas); theengineering of specialized tools and instruments for remote, harsh environments; and themanagement and use of ocean resources (particularly, renewable resources). The graying trendin the marine workforce adds to the urgency of educating new technical professionals that willadapt and excel in the rapidly advancing ocean workplace.Recent workforce studies conducted by MATE and funded by the Office of Naval Research haveidentified more than twenty ocean occupations that are limiting the growth of ocean industriesbecause of the lack of qualified personal, including electronics/marine technicians (such as ROVtechnicians); engineers (electrical, mechanical, civil/structural); and computer scientists(software application developers, computer programmers, hardware developers).However, these are not simply engineers, technicians, and computer scientists; they areprofessionals that understand ocean applications within their field. For example, ROVtechnicians in support of ocean operations must have an understanding of ocean science inaddition to engineering and computer science since all commercial ROVs possess computer-controlled systems and must be maintained, repaired, and modified in remote locations far fromport. These skills sets are transferable to almost every sector of the economy that uses roboticsand computer-controlled systems.To prepare the future workforce for ocean-related occupations, MATE develops multi-disciplinary, technology-based educational programs. With an emphasis on workforceassessment and development, MATE uses information from employers to improve and developmarine technology education programs that prepare students to participate in the science,technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, producing future employees withthe knowledge and skills needed by industry.This presentation will focus on the MATE Center’s strategy for improving the marine technicalworkforce and how MATE’s programs, such as its international ROV competition, aremanifestations of its philosophy that hands-on, collaborative learning experiences help studentsto develop the skills needed for success in the technical workplace.

Sullivan, D., & Zande, J. M. (2011, June), The MATE Center: Addressing the Need for a Qualified Ocean Workforce Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18918

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