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Great Lakes MATE-ROV Competition gets first sponsor ever for annual event

(Photo Courtesy/Mike Beiermeister) MATE-ROV Competitor Lydia Thomson demonstrates her team's underwater remotely operate vehicle to Director of First Federal/mBank Community Foundation Marty Thomson.

Alpena, Mich. — Students who utilize marine remotely operated vehicles will have quite a bit to compete for in this upcoming regional MATE ROV Competition.

Members of the First Federal/mBank Community Foundation stopped by the Sanctuary’s “Maker-Space” this evening to drop off a donation. The $900 will help provide awards and patches at the upcoming Great Lakes MATE-ROV Regional Competition. It’s the first time the competition has had a sponsor. Members of First Federal/mBank also got to take a look at some of the ROVs that students are working on.

For the students, it was a chance to showcase their hard work.

“When you put it [ROV] in the water, and it runs, and all of your work has come together, it’s my favorite part because it just comes together!” said Student Lydia Thomson.

For the donors, it was a great chance to see why so many students are pursuing robotics and engineering.

“This is a great initiative for young people to learn about the environment and what can be done to study it, and then, hopefully, what we can do to make the environment better, ” said Marty Thomson, Director of First Federal/mBank Community Foundation. “Plus, the mechanics and the electronics and everything else is just amazing.”

The regional competition takes place this upcoming spring. Last year, Alpena’s high school team won the regional and placed fifth at the world competition. Students make their ROVs to present and compete in different challenges. Alpena expects to have some strong competing ROVs this year.