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Germantown Academy Honors Engineering Dominates SeaGlide and SeaPerch Challenges

On Saturday, March 9, many of Germantown Academy’s Honors Engineering students competed in the Greater Philadelphia SeaGlide Challenge and the Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge at Temple University.

The GA SeaGlide team, Big Blue, won first place in Tier 2 in both the vehicle performance competition and the marketing campaign, which consisted of a video commercial and presentation. GA SeaGlide participants included (Tier 2) Brian Bartle ’19, Kevin Lamb ’19, Jake Rabbiner ’19, and Conall Sweeney ’19 as well as (Tier 1) Brian Basile ’19, Thane Burger ’19, and Tai Humphrey ’19.

The SeaGlide Competition is an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) educational program and competition. A SeaGlide is a miniature underwater glider which moves by changing its buoyancy, taking in or expelling water, and shifting its center of gravity so it may dive or rise in the water. As the glider completes its dive and rise cycles, its wings generate lift, propelling the glider forward. Full scale underwater gliders require very little energy and can be fully or partially autonomous, allowing them to deploy for months at a time to collect valuable data about the world’s oceans. SeaGlide offers this type of technology on a smaller scale. SeaGlide consists of an educational tool kit that centers on a curriculum-designed program that teaches students about the basics of naval architecture, marine engineering, computer programming and electrical circuits. The program is designed to provide high school students with the materials and knowledge to construct an AUV. The students are then encouraged to build upon that basic knowledge to innovate and create unique AUV designs to meet specific mission scenarios.

The GA SeaPerch team, G.A.N.E. (Germantown Academy Naval Engineering), won second place in both the vehicle performance competition and the presentation. GA SeaPerch participants included Ethan Cody ’19, Satyam Ghodasara ‘19, Tom McDonnell ‘20, and Jack Ruane ’19. GA’s second SeaPerch team, made up of Ryan Fairlie ’20, Olivia Korman ’19, Olivia McMichael ’20 and Carmen Sinker ’20, had three members taking the SAT's and therefore could not attend actual competition, but completed all of the elements.

The Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge is open to middle schools and high schools in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware region. The goal is to increase student interest in robotics, science, mathematics, engineering and technology and to introduce students to naval engineering. The event is structured to give students an overall experience in the engineering process. The first category, vehicle performance, is a test of how well the students did in designing and building their Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The second category, poster presentation, is a test of how well the students can convey their engineering ideas and market their ROV. The third category, design notebook, is a test of the students organizational and documentation capabilities. The fourth category, spirit and sportsmanship, is a test of the students’ capabilities to recognize and encourage better solutions and engineering.

GA's Honors Engineering course is taught by Diane Goldstein 1760. GA Electrician Mike Kelly served as a special advisor for these challenges and Systems Administrator Steve Herman assisted with the coding for the SeaGlider's project.