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Floating STEM classroom goal of new Quickstarter project

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Bayfront Maritime Center (BMC) today launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000 toward recreating the War of 1812 Gunboat Schooner Porcupine as a floating STEM classroom.

The online fundraising campaign is being organized by Mercyhurst University’s Quickstarter initiative and funded by the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority’s Ignite Erie: Industry-University Business Acceleration Collaborative, led by Mercyhurst and Penn State Behrend.

An Ohio couple donated a 40' unfinished fiberglass hull to the BMC that, with the help of a naval architect, is being modified to look like the deck of the Porcupine, the longest-lasting ship from the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.

To recreate the Porcupine, Rich Eisenberg, BMC’s executive director, and Jamie Trost, project manager and Porcupine captain, are working with both seasoned shipbuilders and students at BMC’s boat shop.

As a school ship, the Porcupine will present students with math and engineering exercises in the best hands-on classroom possible -- a Tall Ship! The recreated Porcupine will offer classes that spark student ingenuity and foster teamwork, uniquely bringing together history, sailing, and the growing field of STEM - science, technology, engineering, and math.

To support the project and to view a full list of rewards for backers, visit Kickstarter.

Students working on the Quickstarter initiative include Rachel Betzner, project manager; Colin Guay, graphic design; and Devin Hardner, public relations; all of Mercyhurst; and Penn State Behrend student Shelby Daley, on video production.

For more information, contact Jamie Trost at:; 814-746-1394.