PULLMAN, Wash. – A paper presented by Candiya Mann, senior research manager at the WSU Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC), recently was named the best paper in the Ocean, Marine and Coastal Engineering Division of the Annual Conference for the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
 
The paper presented an overview of SESRC’s work evaluating 10 years of regional and international underwater robotics competitions sponsored by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center. The paper looked at methodology, challenges, research questions and findings from the evaluations.
 
Overall, evaluation results indicate the competitions have had a profound effect on both students and faculty. Students are more aware of and interested in pursuing careers in marine science and technology. They also have found new opportunities, including scholarships, internships, university admissions and employment.
 
Faculty report improvement in student skills – technical skills, problem solving, teamwork and critical thinking. Faculty said the competitions contributed to their own scientific and technical knowledge and opened new professional and educational opportunities, as well as new collaborative opportunities for their schools.