May 21, 2010

High School Students from San Diego, CA; Newton, MA; & Andover, MA Chosen for MIT Ocean Engineering Summer Internships at MIT Sea Grant College Program & the MIT Center for Ocean Engineering

May 14 – Two Boston area high school students, Cole Kerr (Newton North) and Stephanie Liu (Phillips Andover Academy), and two students from High Tech High in San Diego, Beth Lacarra and Jake Neighbors, have been chosen for the MIT Ocean Engineering Summer Internships. The Ocean Engineering Internship Program is jointly sponsored by the MIT Sea Grant College Program and the MIT Center for Ocean Engineering. The paid internship will run from July 12 through August 20, 2010.

ABOUT THE OCEAN ENGINEERING INTERNSHIP
The Ocean Engineering Internships offers four high school students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a variety of marine science and technology fields. Interns work with faculty and research staff, including policy experts, research engineers, and marine biologists, at the MIT Sea Grant College Program and the MIT Center for Ocean Engineering. Each intern also works semi-independently on a project designed by the intern and an assigned advisor from one of the following disciplines: marine biology, oceanography, physical and ocean science and engineering. The project will culminate in a written and oral report to be presented at the end of the program.

The Ocean Engineering Internship program is open to rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Two students are chosen from a pool of MIT’s “Blue Lobster Bowl” participants each year and two from High Tech High in San Diego.

THE BLUE LOBSTER BOWL INTERNS
For over 13 years the Blue Lobster Bowl has been testing Massachusetts high school students in marine sciences including biology, chemistry, physics, geology, maritime history, and ocean engineering. Each year approximately 2,000 students from 300 schools across the nation compete in their regional tournament. Winners of regional competitions are invited to compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The Blue Lobster Bowl is co-sponsored by The MIT Sea Grant College Program, The MIT Center for Ocean Engineering, and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

For the second year, MIT offered the two Boston-area Ocean Engineering Internship slots exclusively to Blue Lobster Bowl participants. Cole Kerr, a rising junior from Newton North High School and Stephanie Liu, a rising senior from Philips Andover Academy, were been selected from a pool of applicants. They will be working on sensors for the Sea Perch, a small underwater robot used by MIT Sea Grant in its educational programs. The interns will be responsible for field data collection and input into online database and conducting quality control on the sensor itself.

Brandy M. M. Wilbur, Educational Consultant for the MIT Sea Grant College Program comments,
"The Blue Lobster Bowl students are passionate about the ocean - the students that apply for the internship are seeking to learn more about the marine realm. MIT Sea Grant developed this internship opportunity for these top marine science students of Massachusetts to provide them with a hands-on opportunity to learn more about the science and engineering that happens when studying the ocean. This summer experience gives them an insight into these areas of study for college and careers."

THE HIGH TECH HIGH MEDIA ARTS ENGINEERING INTERNS
High Tech High Media Arts (HTHMA) is a school serving approximately 390 students in grades 9-12 at High Tech High (HTH) Village in San Diego. Founded in the fall of 2005, the school implements all HTH design principles and features a focus on a strong liberal arts and sciences foundation enhanced through the media arts. Early in 2009 MIT Sea Grant was introduced to HTHMA by Dan Sura, a consultant to MIT Sea Grant who commutes between San Diego and Cambridge. MIT Sea Grant director, Chrys Chryssostomidis, was delighted to supply the dynamic science and engineering focused HTH with two kits to build Sea Perch remotely operated vehicle (ROV) which is the cornerstone of MIT Sea Grant’s K-12 outreach program.

Ultimately, HTHMA engineering instructor, Karl Wendt, decided to pursue a custom ROV project with his group of talented and technically advanced students. Wendt’s students developed an array of ROV and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) platforms comparable in size to the Sea Perch but with digital control systems and sensors that allow them to have interesting capabilities. Throughout the MAE program, Dan Sura continued to provide overall guidance, giving presentations to the students and facilitating communication among MIT Sea Grant, MAE, and the Office for Naval Research which funds the Sea Perch program and sponsored the HTH group to continue ROV developments in through the spring of 2010. Sura comments,

"I've been quite impressed by the fact that Karl has given these kids exposure to some hands on engineering they would normally not see until at least their sophomore year at MIT or any engineering college. They are going to arrive at MIT as high school students with that experience, and apply the skills they learned towards a real-world problem in the Ocean Engineering field."

Through a competitive process that included a written application and interviews, Beth Lacarra and Jake Neighbors were chosen from MAE for the internship. Jake Neighbors is a senior at High Tech High Media Arts graduating this June, 2010. He considers himself an engineer because he likes researching the latest technology and thoroughly understanding how it works. Beth Lacarra, a life-long San Diego resident, has always been interested in science and what makes things work including; gears, electrons and quarks. Chryssostomidis plans to have the MAE summer interns build upon two main concepts, a power docking station to recharge an AUV, sensor integration onto their AUV platform for environmental sensing.

ABOUT MIT SEA GRANT
The mission of the MIT Sea Grant College Program is to employ innovative research, education and outreach strategies to responsibly use and sustain the vital marine resources of Massachusetts. The issues we address manifest locally but many are global in nature. Compelling challenges demand our attention as a solo entity and in partnership with other groups living and working on the coasts and at sea. MIT Sea Grant brings the substantial intellectual abilities of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and our sister universities to bear on ocean-related challenges requiring an extraordinary technical contribution. In meeting these challenges, we expand human understanding of the ocean and establish the infrastructure to sustain the initiatives and talent pool needed to address complex issues of critical and fragile marine resources.

For immediate release: May 14, 2010
Contact:Nancy Adams
email: nadamsx@mit.edu
Call: 617 253-9305


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MIT Sea Grant College Program
Mail to: 77 Massachusetts Avenue, E38-300, Cambridge, MA 02139
To visit: 292 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02140
http://seagrant.mit.edu/

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Beth Lacarra and Jake Neighbors from High Tech High, San Diego

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