Teachers complete training in underwater ROV workshop


Twenty-eight teachers and students from 16 elementary and high schools took part in an underwater ROV professional development workshop hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.

Held at the Tauese P Sunia Ocean Center from June 24-28, the workshop aimed to deepen educators’ understanding of marine ecosystems, enhance practical skills of robotics, and facilitate the integration of marine science into school curricula.

It was held in collaboration with American Samoa Department of Education Curriculum and Instruction Division, and was led by Ella Ashford (NOAA Hollings scholar and Willamette University Presidential scholar) and Isabel Halatuituia (NMSAS Education/IT Coordinator), with assistance from PHS robotics teacher and Navitechers mentor Michael Homsany.

The participants were immersed in a week of intensive learning and hands-on activities to build their own ROVs. On the final day of the workshop, teachers were able to test drive their ROVs and engaged in an informal mini competition at the Sadies by the Sea pool.

Additionally, students from Pacific Horizons School’s “Navitechers” ROV team, who had competed in the 2024 MATE ROV World Championship Competition just a week prior, gave a presentation to share their experiences with ROVs over the years. At the end of the workshop , teachers received a Pufferfish ROV kit for their classes, tools, and certificates recognizing the successful completion of 25 professional hours.

Ella Ashford, NOAA Hollings scholar and Willamette University Presidential scholar said, “The teachers and student participants brought their boundless enthusiasm and curiosity to the workshop which created the perfect environment for learning. I am sure that they will use the skills that they have gained to bring ROV education into their classrooms and advocate for future ROV competitions!”