Over 1,000 students prepare for Sea Perch National Challenge at - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Over 1,000 students prepare for Sea Perch National Challenge at USM

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

The University of Southern Mississippi Natatorium hosted over a thousand students who competed in the Sea Perch National Challenge.

A group from Puerto Rico visited Hattiesburg and won their regional competition. The team will compete Saturday.

"I'm feeling excited because this is my first time in Mississippi, I'm representing Puerto Rico so it's an honor," said Paola Rodriguez, a competitor in the competition.

Over 100 teams from across the country brought their sea perches that took six to eight weeks to construct.  The long term goal for the project hinges on getting kids into field of engineering and science so that they can be future leaders in military or private industries

"It's quite challenging, they have to know a lot about water dynamics as well as understanding the engineering of their robot," said LSU professor Bridgette Davis.

Each team will compete in two separate water divisions as well as a presentation round explaining the design philosophy.