Generation: Explorer — Tampa Girls To Build Underwater Drones and Join a Peer Network of Ocean Explorers

Tampa, Florida. February 5th, 2016. — This weekend, Tampa teens will feel the exhilaration of flight through the ocean. Their cockpit? The control panel of an underwater robot they build by themselves! This new group of ocean explorers will dive into a hidden, vibrant world, exploring coral reefs and coming eye-to-eye with curious fish — all while standing proud on the salt sprayed deck of a catamaran.

“It is the only source of light in the deep, ready to discover what has been waiting for us just below the surface.” -E.B.
An OpenROV 2.7 explores a sunken sailboat in Lake Tahoe — Photo Courtesy of

Twenty girls, aged 10–15, submitted applications through Hillsborough County School District and were accepted into Girls Underwater Robot Camp to join this action-packed, rip-roaring, whirlwind of a weekend building and flying underwater robots, also known as Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs).

Past Girls Underwater Robot Camp (GURC) lessons have ranged from ideal propellor configuration and underwater photography composition, to navigation and shark searching! Photo Courtesy of

Girls Underwater Robot Camp participants spend the first two days of camp learning basic electronics, soldering, and acrylic construction as they build an OpenROV from a kit. After assembling and calibrating the robot, they plan a “micro expedition” to test their new machine and hit the high seas!

Keona and Jasmine, sisters from the Hawaiian Island of Lanai’i, construct the ROV’s camera assembly as participants in a Girls Underwater Robot Camp in California.
“Most of all I liked that I got to help other girls build a robot that can go pretty deep to explore oceans!” — Keona H.

Not only will they pilot the OpenROV through a jet pilot-like cockpit on their laptops, they will learn how to communicate their discoveries, sharing their stories and photos with the world through a digital field journal on OpenExplorer.

Run by Global Engineering & Exploration Counselors (GEECs), in partnership with National Geographic Learning, this hands-on program will be held on location at the Museum of Science and Industry and Florida Aquarium complete with a sleepover in the aquarium’s Coral Reef Gallery and a morning expedition in Tampa Bay aboard the Bay Spirit II Catamaran to pilot their newly minted ROVS!

Thanks to these generous partners, Tampa will host this opportunity for young women to experience real-world applications of science, technology, engineering, and math and allow curious girls to test the water of becoming ocean explorers, scientists, and engineers.

Thank you to these generous sponsors and partners of Mission Tampa!

GEECs was co-founded by two young women with a mission to increase opportunities for girls to explore the ocean and their talents in STEM fields, and ultimately join them in marine technology careers. Erika Bergman is a National Geographic Explorer and manned submersible pilot, and Samantha Wishnak is a marine science and technology communicator and educator trained at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Connect with GEECs and Girls Underwater Robot Camp! or
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