Skip to main content

STEM Institute staff complete underwater ROV training to assist regional teams

Mary Thaler

While many people were looking to slow things down in the summer, the Institute for Interdisciplinary STEM Education (i2STEMe) staff members Kania Greer, Ed.D., and Mary Thaler, decided to take on a new challenge.

Both enrolled in the 2020 Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Workshops, Thaler in the intermediate level training and Greer in the advanced level course. The key outcome of the workshop was focused on how to teach the engineering design process of using underwater robotics. 

“With education at the forefront of our mission, the idea was to increase our knowledge to be able to provide support to our regional school ROV teams and coaches,” said Thaler.

Each year, the i2STEMe assists regional middle and high school teams with forming and competing in the MATE Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Competitions.

“During the ROV competitions, student teams need to demonstrate skill sets such as maneuvering their watercraft to complete designated tasks,” said Thaler. “As many times as I have provided assistance and guidance to students, I have actually never had the opportunity to build my own from scratch. The construction of the vehicle plays a pivotal role in its ability to complete the tasks, so our guided training during this workshop provided us with the opportunity to build and complete these tasks.”

Greer echoed that their experience building their own ROV guided by experts will provide them the opportunity to serve as coaches for the teachers who would like to lead teams as well.

“A lot of what we do at the Institute is trying to promote STEM education and create interest in STEM within K-12 students and the community,” said Greer. “This workshop put us back in the role of the student and really allowed us to refine our skill set in this area. I am excited to think about how we can share our experiences with teachers across Southeast Georgia, and how it may help students advance in the competition.”

To create their underwater ROVs, Greer and Thaler were challenged to design and construct an ROV frame, wire their own circuit boards, implement housing for a camera, and properly connect motors that would allow the ROV to complete maneuvers for various missions.   

Kania Greer, Ed.D.

“My skill set in circuitry has improved immensely as well as my problem solving skills,” said Thaler. “This was a challenging workshop, and I can now relate to the challenges students and coaches face when trying to construct their rovers. It was a feeling of accomplishment to see your build go from a pile of PVC pipes to an actual motorized underwater robot.”

For more information about how the Institute for Interdisciplinary STEM Education can help you or your school, visit or email


Posted in Staff Highlights

Tags: , , ,