Outreach News

Team PropaGator is very active in providing Native American K-12 students opportunities to learn and become excited about S.T.E.M. through the synergy of mechanical design, electronics, and computer programming (robotics).

They currently have two sites which serve Native youth from Arizona (AZ), New Mexico (NM), and Oklahoma (OK). The first site is the Navajo Nation in AZ and NM. In 2014, one of the team members was able to visit 6 schools, perform over 30 workshops, and worked with over 1000 students from the Navajo Nation. Most recently, Team PropaGator helped found two FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics teams with the help of FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Teams 2486 and 4118. The first team is the “Arc Angels” from St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, AZ. The second team is, “Electro Mutton Nation” from Tsehootsooi Middle School in Ft. Defiance, AZ. In November 2014, Electro Mutton Nation competed in an FLL tournament in Winslow, AZ and won the Judges Award as well as the award for best Coaches/Mentors. Even after the competition, they still meet regularly to complete the tasks that there robot was unable to complete at the competition. This allows them to continue to learn through building and programming robots and be ready for next year’s competition. They have even started fundraising for next season by raising hundreds of dollars selling pickles after school.

At the 2014 AUVSI Foundation’s International RoboBoat Competition, the team presented their outreach with the Navajo Nation to the competition’s judges which helped inspire the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to donate five SeaPerch robot submarine kits to each team in order to aid in their outreach. This inspired the creation of a second site. One of the team members made contact with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) in OK and helped coordinate for their students to receive these kits to help aid in the CPN’s push for S.T.E.M. education. Team PropaGator then reached out to all of the other RoboBoat teams. Team PropaGator wanted the other teams to know that if they weren’t sure what to do with their kits, there was a good home waiting for them with the tribes in OK. Georgia Tech (GT) has become a partner in this program by donating some of their kits to the tribes of OK. The goal is once the students of the CPN become proficient in assembling and using their kits, they will invite neighboring tribes to their build area. The CPN will show the students from the other tribes how to assemble the kits from GT and will then present them as a gift to their guests. In this way the S.T.E.M. outreach is further extended and positive inter-tribal relationships are formed between the students. The team would like to thank NASA astronaut Terry Hart for Skyping in to both of these communities to share his experiences and answer the students’ questions on what it is like to travel to outer space.

Outreach Partners 2015

UF recognized for outreach

While we the boat did not perform as well as we had hoped, we did earn an award for the outreach the team conducted.  PropaGator has been displayed at museums, art galleries, and even First Robotic events with the intention of educating the public about robotics as well as inspiring future engineers.  In addition to that, team member Dan Frank’s outreach using Sea Perch kits with Citizen Potawatomi Nation and organizing a FLL and general stem outreach with Navajo Nation was recognized.
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AUVSI Conference 2015!!!!

The AUVSI Foundation allowed us to show off our boat and sub at the 2015 AUVSI conference held in Atlanta!  PropaGator 2 and SubjuGator 7 attracted quite a crowd every day.  The team was peppered with questions on how we controlled our vehicles, how we made our platforms, what types of batteries we used, and many more.  By the end of the 3 day event, most of us had lost our voices.  We’re looking forward to the 2016 conference. On the last day of the conference, Dan and I gave tours to loc
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2015 FRC Orlando, Go Roaring Riptides!

We took the boat with us to the 2015 Orlando First Robotics Competition.  Matt and I drove the boat and sub down south to show off some of our lab’s projects to the public.  Of all the public outreach events we’ve ever done, FRC Orlando got us the most visibility.  Matt and I must have talked to hundreds people (both of our voices were hoarse at the end of the day). Dan and Dr. Crane sponsor P. K. Younge team 4118 the Roaring Riptides.  So of course we were biased in who we wanted to
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SeaPerch kits complete!

The Oklahoma tribe completed their SeaPerch kits this week.  They’re expecting to compete with other schools in the next few months.                
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FLL Navajo Nation

In an effort to increase interest in S.T.E.M. related fields among Native youth, Team PropaGator helped start two FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics team on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. On November 15th 2014, one of those teams, “Electro Mutton Nation,” traveled two hours to compete in the Winslow High School FLL Qualifying Tournament. Their robot’s first run did not go well, but they stayed positive and were rewarded because their robot’s performance got better and better
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PropaGator Team Member Recognized in CPN Website

Due to the outreach that Team PropaGator was performing on the Navajo Nation in AZ, they were awarded five SeaPerch (robot submarine) kits at AUVSI’s 7th Annual RoboBoat Competition last July. The team decided to use these kits to further expand their S.T.E.M. outreach to Native students by donating them to Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma.  The tribe just received the kits and judging by the smiles on their students’ faces, we think that they’ve found a good home: http://
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FAV Summit 2014

We were invited to the Florida Autonomous Vehicles (2014) Summit 2014 during Christmas break.  FAV 2014 was an attempt by the Florida Department of Transportation to spread knowledge about autonomous vehicles and what the state of Florida is capable of producing: “Florida DOT is blazing the trail for the integration of automated vehicles into existing traffic operations and leading by example with pilot projects, research projects, and open dialogue to ensure that Florida serves as a ferti
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UF Stakeholders Dinner

The Engineering Department of the University of Florida held a stakeholders dinner to acknowledge supporting alumni.  We were proud to represent the departments of mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering with the display of our boat.  After the two hour dinner, we had a chance to talk to 40-50 donors.
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Beat Missouri!

Today, a group of team members from the Machine Intelligence Lab headed down to our campus lawn for the engineering tail gate.  We set up several tents and put our lab projects on display.  PropaGator and our sister team SubjuGator answered questions and explained our projects to several hundred students and alumni.  The weather couldn’t have been better!            
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