Partner Spotlight: Circuit Breakers

Jaime WaltonFront Page, Partners, Spotlight


Students on one of the Circuit Breaker teams look into the pool.

Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance embraces the competitive spirit of STEM, guiding students to overcome challenges, fuel their creativity, and emerge as resilient innovators. Today, we illuminate the inspiring journey of two exceptional SeaPerch robotics teams from Memorial Middle School – Circuit Breakers 1 and Circuit Breakers 2, under the dedicated guidance of Coach Abraham Kamara.

SeaPerch, an underwater robotics competition, aims to reduce traditional barriers to participation in robotics programs and promotes opportunities to engage students and educators in inquiry-based learning with real-world applications. SeaPerch introduces students to basic engineering, design, and science concepts as a fun, hands-on project. Students’ skills are tested at the competition with obstacles and real-world inspired tasks, like “Deep Sea Exploration” in 2024.

Circuit Breakers 1 distinguished themselves by securing the coveted first place at our 2023 Regional SeaPerch Competition, showcasing exceptional skills and a profound spirit of innovation. Simultaneously, Circuit Breakers 2 claimed the second-place spot, earning both teams the prestigious opportunity to advance to the International SeaPerch Challenge hosted by RoboNation at the United States Naval Academy last May. 

Each team comprises four talented students, a mix of newcomers and experienced members. Originating from an afterschool program that initially met twice a week, the teams’ infectious enthusiasm led them to meet nearly every weeknight leading up to competition, a testament to their dedication under Coach Kamara’s mentorship.

Circuit Breakers 1 faced and conquered significant challenges in the run-up to the regional competition. Achieving the correct buoyancy for their SeaPerch became a puzzle, which was ultimately solved with ingenuity using pool noodles and weights to achieve the perfect balance. The additional hurdle of balancing the back thrusters echoed the need for symmetry in airplane wings, illustrating the depth of their learning experience.

News of their advancement to the national competition was met with a delightful blend of excitement and surprise, despite their self-perceived room for improvement. In preparation for the culminating event, both teams diligently practiced, refining their robot designs and honing their driving and task execution skills. On the international stage, Circuit Breakers 2 secured a commendable 7th place. At the same time, Circuit Breakers 1 achieved an impressive 9th place out of more than 100 global teams. The lessons learned from this experience are now the guiding force as they prepare for this year’s regional competition, with their sights set on a first-place victory at Internationals.

Circuit Breakers 1 serves as a model for the transformative power of SeaPerch engagement. It has not only solidified the students’ aspirations for engineering professions but also empowered them to venture beyond the competition requirements. The teams are now actively designing a self-driving robot to detect and clean up waste in pools – a visionary project akin to a new-age robotic vacuum.

Coach Kamara (left) at the 2023 SeaPerch Competition

Coach Kamara’s insight into fostering an inclusive and supportive STEM environment strongly emphasizes permitting students to construct and glean knowledge from their own mistakes. Instead of crafting the SeaPerch or robot on behalf of the students, he fervently champions empowering them through immersive, hands-on learning experiences, encouraging students to treat their SeaPerch robot as if it were their pet. He highlights the crucial aspect of nurturing a sense of self-responsibility through the process. 

As we celebrate these remarkable achievements, we look forward to seeing these teams and dozens of others compete in our 2024 SeaPerch Competition on March 30 at the Jenks Trojan Aquatic Center. For over a decade, we have served as a regional qualifier, consistently inspiring and preparing students for success in STEM.