BLOOMINGTON - A competition designed to foster interest in STEM education will take place this weekend in Bloomington. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division will host its Sea, Air and Land Challenge, which provides a focus on engineering and robotics, at the Ivy Tech Community College campus Saturday.

The challenge gives 11 teams with a total of 86 students from eight Indiana schools the chance to gain hands-on engineering experience. Students will build air and land vehicles, as well as vehicles for the sea. 

"'Sea, Air and Land' is where the Navy SEALs get their name," said Brian Blackwell, director of engagement for NSWC Crane. "This program is exciting because students engage with retired personnel who are involved in the initiative. NSWC Crane is well-positioned with many former Special Forces folks combined with our engineers and technicians, all interested in supporting this initiative."

Blackwell says students will have more freedom in their designs because they will not be required to use specific materials. NSWC Crane says the competition will help students develop skills in design, troubleshooting, teamwork, budgeting, scheduling and project management, among others. 

The program was developed by Penn State University's Electro-Optics Center. NSWC Crane is the first outside of Pennsylvania to conduct its own Sea, Air and Land Challenge, putting the program on its way to becoming a nationwide challenge.

Click here to learn more about the program.