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060 | Solving Real-Life Problems with Underwater Robots: The MATE ROV Competition | with Jill Zande

The MATE ROV program is one of the most wonderfully unique, engaging, and fun expressions of STEM education that a student can participate in. The MATE ROV Competition uses remotely operated vehicles — AKA underwater robots — to inspire and challenge students to learn and creatively apply STEM principles to solve real-world problems and strengthen their critical thinking, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation. It’s awesome.

To learn more about MATE and all that MATE is and aspires to be, we sit down with is the Jill Zande, the Associate Director and Competition Coordinator for the MATE Center, as well as the President of MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II).

We unbox:

  1. Why MATE is distinct, even among other robotics competitions

  2. Solving real-life problems

  3. Tackling the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010

  4. The MATE program graduates who have gone on to work in careers related to underwater research and remediation

  5. Making MATE financially accessible

  6. Not all kids will want to be part of building the robot, but they still want to be part of the team

  7. Scrappy school teams


  1. Learn more about the MATE competition:

  2. MATE Inspiration for Innovation:

  3. LinkedIn:


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