My SeaPerch was the robot that started it all. It was my first experience throwing a robot into water, and taught me so much about robotics, engineering, and technology in general. I highly recommend this kit to anyone even mildly interested in underwater robotics (not sponsored - just honest).

I was inspired to level up my underwater robotics game after completing the SeaPerch kit and chose to do so by starting an all-girls MATE ROV Competition team. My three years as CEO of this team (9th-11th grade) were life-changing and taught me so much about leadership, perseverance, and the world beyond competitive robotics.

While competitive robotics was what got me into the world of underwater robotics, the prospect of underwater research is what keeps me in it. This project is with Georgia Tech and Dr. Mick West, and entails creating a fleet of small profiling floats to mimic the movement of Metridium senile.

Science Ambassador Scholarship

I applied for the 2024 Science Ambassador Scholarship sponsored by Cards Against Humanity with a video explaining the need to map the seabed and how the traveling salesman problem is used to accomplish this task.

Project Evolution

My experience with the SeaPerch kit sparked an interest for underwater robotics that has lasted my entire high school career. While completing college applications, I was forced to reflect on my projects and how they have transformed me as a person. Below is my Common App essay which I wrote about how SeaPerch sparked a period of transformation for me and a video from my MIT maker portfolio showing the progression of my robots.

Essay on SeaPerch Journey

For the first 13 years of my life, I sailed through school, sports, and hobbies, never really challenging myself intellectually. During the COVID-19 quarantine, I decided it was time to find something I loved to do and could lose myself in for hours so that I would feel a sense of purpose outside of a routine school schedule. I had been swimming since I was five and around robotics teams my dad coached since I could walk. With both on hold, I felt adrift. I learned about underwater robotics from the movie Spare Parts, so I decided to combine my interests and try it. I ordered a SeaPerch underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) kit, starting a transformative voyage I don't plan to jump ship on anytime soon.

After a week of making a seemingly infinite number of stupid mistakes, the ROV was complete. I was so excited for its maiden voyage in my bathtub. At first, it was unbalanced and barely functional, but after slapping a box of bolts on the back and switching some wires, the ROV moved! With quarantine lifting, I got pool access again and could test the robot in deep water. The pool test was an absolute success and was the spark that lit my passion for underwater robotics.

Soon after completing my SeaPerch, I began 9th grade at Lanier High School. Since COVID protocols were in place, many of my classes were virtual, but since my dad was a teacher, I was fortunate to complete my assignments from the maker space at the school. I wanted to continue to pursue underwater robotics in a different, more challenging way and decided to try competing in the MATE ROV Competition RANGER Class. I knew I wouldn't have any success in this competition alone, so I grabbed two friends and started SeaCow Robotics, which would evolve into the all-girls, award-winning team it is today. 

As the "CEO" of SeaCow Robotics, I helped grow the team from three to six incredible young women. We designed, manufactured, assembled, and tested three underwater ROVs and demonstrated the robots at community events and science fairs (even getting to ISEF!). From Fall 2020 to Spring 2023, I went from learning how to pronounce the word solder to designing the underwater control system for one of our ROVs, using a CNC Router to cut out an HDPE ROV frame, and making a personal CAD library of underwater manipulators.

Despite my passion and readiness to learn, I wasn't immediately a good leader. When things inevitably sailed off course, I would close off my teammates and focus on solving the problem independently until the work got done. While this worked for year one, it wasn’t sustainable for me and the underwater robotics program. Soon after, I was selected as a marching band leader, giving me more experience leading a small group. During my sophomore year, I focused on becoming a better leader in marching band and robotics. At first, I would quickly lose my patience and resort to bossing my team around rather than allowing them to try and solve problems. Then, I would go home crying because I felt I had failed as a leader. In 11th grade, I was selected as band captain, motivating me to model myself after admirable leaders instead of simply holding my tongue. Although I am still improving, I learned to prioritize patience, encourage open communication, and foster group ownership. I poured my heart into this team, and when I focused on making the environment better for them, they showed me the same love and dedication. The SeaCows now demonstrate a culture of supporting passionate and hardworking women in STEM, and I am so proud that the team will continue after I graduate. Because of SeaPerch, I got to apply my strengths and confront my weaknesses, transforming me as a person, engineer, and leader.