PHOTO SUBMITTED / Dr. Jane Hulon, vice president of instructional services; Dr. Kevin McKone, chairperson to the science division and adviser to the Seawolves Robotics Team; Ray Melick, Georgia-Pacific Monticello public affairs manager; Dr. Jill Logan, Dean for academic instruction.
PHOTO SUBMITTED / Dr. Jane Hulon, vice president of instructional services; Dr. Kevin McKone, chairperson to the science division and adviser to the Seawolves Robotics Team; Ray Melick, Georgia-Pacific Monticello public affairs manager; Dr. Jill Logan, Dean for academic instruction.

GP awards grant to robotics program

Published 10:40pm Saturday, April 5, 2014

MONTICELLO – Georgia-Pacific Monticello has announced a $5,000 grant to support the Robotics Program at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson.

The grant will also go toward sponsorship of the Co-Lin SeaWolves Underwater Robotics Engineering team, also known as “SURE.” The team is made up of students from the Career-Technical and Academic Divisions of the college that have collaborated to build a remotely operated vehicle to compete in the International MATE ROV Competition.

The first team was founded in Spring 2011 under the leadership of Dr. Kevin McKone, physics instructor; Carey Williamson and Brian Turnage, electronics instructors; Wes Burkett and Bruce Thomas, drafting and design instructors; and Bo Johnson, Precision Machining Instructor.

In 2012, the team placed sixth in the 12th Annual Marine Advanced Technology Education, International Remotely Operated Vehicle Competition held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

“This grant will go a long way in helping us develop a new hydraulic system, upgrade our microprocessor, and start work on a new fiber optic data transmission system,” said McKone, director of the robotics program and chair of the Co-Lin science department. “Our team members have been placed in multiple companies, mainly due to the multidisciplinary nature of our team and the work required of them. Our team is composed of instructors from disciplines as diverse as English and precision machining, with the students working with most of them. We have been extremely happy with how industry has received us.”

Ray Melick, public affairs manager for Georgia-Pacific Monticello LLS, presented the grant to Co-Lin.

“Georgia-Pacific has a great relationship with Co-Lin, starting with the many employees who are graduates or have taken classes there,” Melick said. “Our support of the science department overall, and robotics in particular, recognizes that students who focus on areas of science, technology, engineering and math become a driving force in innovation and competitiveness in our industry, and reflects statistics that show that over the last decade, growth in jobs in science-related fields was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM occupations.”

In addition to this grant, Georgia-Pacific Monticello has pledged to support the Co-Lin Summer Robotics Camp to help expose minority and female middle-school students in this area to robotics and science-related fields.