Asee peer logo

Underwater ROVs in Pre-College Education: University-K12 Partnerships that go Beyond the Competitions

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Special Session Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the MATE International ROV Competition

Tagged Division

Ocean and Marine

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1577.1 - 22.1577.17



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Douglas E. Oppliger Michigan Technological University

visit author page

Mr. Oppliger is a professional engineer and a lecturer in the Engineering Fundamentals department at Michigan Technological University. He is the director of the High School Enterprise program which has a mission to increase the numbers of students pursuing post-secondary degrees and careers in STEM fields. At its core, this program supports K-12 teachers who are leading teams of students in long-term STEM projects. This work is the latest in Oppliger’s history of working in K-12 STEM areas. For the past 10 years, he has developed and taught first-year engineering courses at the University and actively worked with high school students and teachers to increase and enhance engineering content in K-12 education. This includes consulting on K-12 engineering curriculum development for the State of Michigan. In 2004, Mr. Oppliger was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award for Service honoring this outreach work. He has presented papers at several national conferences on engineering education. Before coming to Michigan Tech, Mr. Oppliger taught math and science at the secondary level for 11 years. Before that, he worked for five years as a project engineer in the marine construction industry.

visit author page

author page

Valorie Troesch Michigan Technological University


Jean Kampe Michigan Technological University

visit author page

Dr. Jean Kampe is currently department chair of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Technological University, where she also holds an associate professorship in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She received her Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering from Michigan Tech, an M.Ch.E. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware, and a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Michigan Tech. She was employed as a research engineer for five years at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, and she held an associate professorship in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, working there for ten years in first-year engineering education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Underwater ROVs in Pre-College Education: University-K12 Partnerships That Go Beyond the CompetitionsAbstractThere are many instances where ROVs are being used to enhance STEM education. Many ofthese instances center on events such as the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education)competition which is open to K-12 as well as college teams. The purpose of these competitions isto increase student interest in STEM and to develop a group of students who may one daybecome part of the ocean and marine engineering work force. This paper examines a high schoolROV program in Michigan which was initially competition driven, but has now transformed tothe point where the competition aspect is minor. The group’s focus has shifted to studentsdesigning, building, and using light-duty ROVs for the study of the marine environment atlocations near their school. Over several years, this particular program has become very popularwith students, parents, and the community in general. It has become a model for how otherschools in the Great Lakes basin can build interest in STEM. The Great Lakes basin is an idealplace for this type of education due to the relatively easy access to bodies of clear fresh-water.Additionally, the recent focus on invasive species such as the zebra mussel and Asian carp hasheightened public and student interest. The recent BP oil spill has also raised awareness of howROVs can play a role in protecting the environment. This paper will give a detailed descriptionof a high school program which is extracurricular and team-based. It will also describe how thisprogram is being assessed as part of a larger cohort of schools undertaking long-term, team-based STEM projects. Although the paper will focus mainly on one school’s ROV program, itwill also discuss other K-12 ROV programs which have recently been introduced to enhancemath and science education. There will be discussion of how these programs were started, theirgoals, and how they are sustained by partnerships between the high school, academia, industryand community. Assessment of these programs, including methodology and early results, willalso be presented.

Oppliger, D. E., & Troesch, V., & Kampe, J. (2011, June), Underwater ROVs in Pre-College Education: University-K12 Partnerships that go Beyond the Competitions Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18916

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015