UACES Facebook More than 100 youth registered to compete in underwater robotics
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More than 80 youth registered to compete in underwater robotics

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture 
Feb. 14, 2019

Fast facts:

  • Arkansas 4-H members prepping for Feb. 23 robotics competition
  • Winning teams eligible for national competition 
  • Competition to be held at Bishop Park in Bryant

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LITTLE ROCK – The aquatic center pool at Bishop Park in Bryant will become the site of an underwater engineering battle Feb. 23 as Arkansas 4-H youth from around the state and their robotic submersibles from take part in the 2019 SeaPerch Challenge. 

4-8-2017 SeaPerch 4
GETTING READY -- Competitors finesse their submersibles for the April 8, 2017, Sea Perch competition The Vines Center. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo by Martha Sartor)

The dramatic rescue of a soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand has inspired this year’s SeaPerch Challenge - Mission: Rescue and Recovery. The teams will run their submersible through an underwater obstacle course, and in a separate contest, will also have to execute specific tasks. Both competitions test the teams’ abilities to remotely control their submersible. 

More than 80 youth on 25 teams from 15 counties have registered for this competition.

SeaPerch is designed with science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, skills in mind. Not only do teams have to build the submersible, they will be judged on their documentation – an engineering notebook – as well as a presentation about their building process. 

“The great thing about SeaPerch is that 4-H members can build their interest in STEM from the ground up, using parts that are readily available in hardware and electronics stores,” said Lori Canada, 4-H development coordinator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Then, there’s the satisfaction of learning to use the submersible, make adjustments and working as a team to hone their skills for competition.’

New for the Arkansas SeaPerch Challenge this year is a partnership with the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, which is co-hosting the event.

"Arkansas' electric cooperatives are advocates for STEM education based programs, such as SeaPerch, that provide future leaders with learning opportunities that prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow," said Rob Roedel, director of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. "We look forward to helping grow the SeaPerch program in Arkansas with Arkansas 4-H, our longtime youth education partner."

Winning junior and senior teams may move on to the international competition to be held June 1-2, 2019, at the University of Maryland. 

The SeaPerch competition is sponsored by the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

“The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas are long-time supporters of Arkansas 4-H and the many programs it offers to the youth in our state,” said Rob Roedel, manager-corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “We believe that great STEM programs like SeaPerch are essential in preparing 4-Hers for the future.”

Canada added, “We’d also like to thank Bryant Parks and Recreation for use of the Bishop Park Aquatic Center.”

To learn more about the SeaPerch initiative visit

The Arkansas 4-H program is operated by the Cooperative Extension Service. To learn more about 4-H in Arkansas, contact your county extension office or visit


About the Division of Agriculture 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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