The Governor's STEM Advisory Council is pleased to be partnering with 50 Eggs and the Museum of Science to screen Mary Mazzio's latest documentary, Underwater Dreams. Please join the STEM Council and Mary Mazzio for the Massachusetts screening of the film, which will be followed by a discussant panel.
Underwater Dreams, narrated by Michael Pena, is the true story of how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned how to build underwater robots. And go up against MIT in the process.
This is how it transpired. Two energetic high school science teachers, on a whim, decided to enter their high school, a Title I school where most of the students live in poverty, into a sophisticated underwater robotics competition sponsored by the NASA and the Office of Naval Research, among others. Only four boys signed up for the competition, but once assembled, with enthusiasm and verve, they started calling oceanic engineers and military contractors for design help. They were advised that their underwater robot would require glass syntactic flotation foam. Short on money, all they could afford was PVC pipe from Home Depot. And some duct tape.
After a few test runs of their robot (aptly named Stinky), the team was confident that they would not come in last at the event, so they all piled into a beat up van to head to the competition. The boys entered the main pool area, seeing college teams in matching gear, with robots sponsored by the likes of Exxon Mobil. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, the boys put Stinky in the water for a test run. Only the PVC did not hold up. The robot leaked. And sunk.
The boys put their heads together and hilariously came up with a brilliant solution. 12 hours later, armed with 8 super-plus tampons to plug the leak in Stinky’s mechanical housing, the robot was lowered into the pool again. Only this time, Stinky performed admirably. Fast forward to a shocking result. This rag-tag high school team of undocumented Mexican boys did what no one thought possible. The competition, however, was only the beginning. These boys forged a legacy that could not have been imagined.
Many thanks to the Museum of Science, The Boston Foundation, Bob Hildreth, Michael Douvadjian, iRobot, The New England Council, PTC, and the STEM Latino Alliance for their support in making this event happen.
Trailer and Website: www.underwaterdreamsfilm.com
5:30 pm – 6:15 pm Reception
6:15 pm – 8:00 pm Welcome and Screening of Underwater Dreams
Museum of Science and STEM Council Co-Chairs, Congressman Joe Kennedy and Jeffrey Leiden
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm Discussant Panel and Q&A Session
Congressman Joe Kennedy, honorary Co-Chair of STEM Council
Colin Angle, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of iRobot
Jeb Bush, Jr., Executive Producer of Underwater Dreams
Woodie Flowers, Professor Emeritus at MIT and National Advisor for FIRST
Mary Mazzio, Director of Underwater Dreams
TBA, Student featured in Underwater Dreams
When & Where
Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council
The Council is led by honorary Co-Chair Congressman Joe Kennedy III and Co-Chair Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Chairman, President, and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The STEM Council serves as a vehicle for STEM advocates from the public and private sectors, as well as legislators and educators, to engage in meaningful collaboration with the Governor's Office, the Executive Office of Education and their agencies, the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Department of Early Education and Care, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
For more information, please contact Allison Scheff, Executive Director of the MA STEM Advisory Council, at firstname.lastname@example.org.