The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and Arkansas 4-H will host the 2023 Arkansas SeaPerch Challenge, an underwater robotics competition, on Friday, March 3 at the University of Arkansas – Little Rock Aquatic Center. An estimated 200 students will represent 61 teams from 12counties at the event. Event participation has grown by more than 400 percent since 2016. The Sea Perch is a remotely-operated submersible built from more than three dozen parts, including PVC pipe, pool noodles, three 12-volt motors and batteries. During the con-test, teams must navigate their SeaPerch through obstacle courses and complete other tasks, such as moving plastic rings from one part of the course and success-fully placing them to an-other part. The goal is to ignite students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).During this year’s competition, competitors will use their SeaPerch robots to simulate ocean exploration and mapping. Robots are becoming more common as scientists use submersibles to document regions of the ocean where manned craft cannot safely go. The winner of the Arkansas SeaPerch Challenge will advance to the International SeaPerch Challenge that will beheld May 13, 2023, at the University of Maryland. “Arkansas’ electric cooperatives are dedicated to providing STEM-based educational opportunities for Arkansas’ youth,” said Rob Roedel, director of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “Our partnership with Arkansas 4-Hhas resulted in tremendous growth in this program that opens learning paths for the future leaders of our state. ”To learn more about the Arkansas 4-H SeaPerch Challenge, visit 4h.uada.edu. More information about the SeaPerch initiative can be found at seap-erch.org/about. The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI),a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC),a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately600,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.