Underwater Robotics for all ages

Learn about underwater robotics by creating, designing and building your own Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Drive the ROV in a pool to gain an understanding of how robots work underwater. This is STEM based educational activity for all ages.

Mark Gleason, PhD

Mark Gleason, PhD

Mark Gleason, PhD Grand Valley State University Mark Gleason is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Grand Valley State University. He has graduate and undergraduate Degrees from a number of Michigan schools including a Bachelors of Arts and Science degree (1978) from Grand Valley State University and an Associates of Arts and Science (1974) from Grand Rapids Community College. His PhD (2008) is from Michigan Tech University in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science where his dissertation was on the use of underwater robotics in natural resources education and in the support of research. He has two Masters Degrees, one is from Western Michigan University in Public Administration (1987) and the other is from Michigan State University in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (2003). Dr. Gleason brings a wide range of work experience to his GVSU classes. His professional background includes being a National Park Ranger, an Outward Bound Instructor, and a Tall Ship sailor. Also, He has held positions in the Criminal Justice system and at two Public Museums and has instructed courses at the college level with six different Colleges or Universities. He has offered or supervised classes in underwater robotics for over 30,000 K-12 students and continues to instruct with Alpena Community College Marine Tech program. In the past fifteen years he has become an expert in the field of underwater robotics. This specialty includes operating ROVs on dives to approximately seventy Great Lake Shipwrecks, exploration of fish habitats in the Great Lakes and the Caribbean, as well as work in the oil/gas fields of the Middle-East. He has used ROVs to film Moose feeding underwater at Isle Royale National Park and observed Manatee behavior in Florida. The video footage of Moose underwater has appear in two films including a National Geographic Society documentary. Dr. Gleason’s research interests are multi-disciplinary in nature, with an emphasis on the use of robotics within underwater research and education. These multi-disciplinary research efforts are often conducted with staff from other colleges and government organizations. He is also conducting research on maritime tourism activities, service animals and STEM education programs. His community service includes supporting robotic informal education, Michigan Cares for Tourism, veteran programs, Leave-No-Trace and K-12 environmental education. In the past, he was involved with the American Red Cross disaster response teams including being part of the national response in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Gleason’s teaching interests reflect his background in Natural Resources, Marine Technology and Maritime Tourism as well as his interests in adventure travel. At the present time he instructs at GVSU in the area of tourism. His main classes at Grand Valley State University are HTM 202 International Tourism, HTM 368 Geo-Tourism and HTM 402 Tourism Policy. Finally, he is an adjunct faculty member at Alpena Community College where he instructs in the Marine Tech Program.