The College of Southern Maryland collegiate robotics team, the Talons, are heading to compete in the 2015 VEX U World Championships
April 16-18 in Louisville, Kentucky. The team and its faculty sponsor, CSM Professor Bernice Brezina, are upbeat and feel prepared to face competitive teams from Rice University, Michigan State University and Purdue University as well as teams from New Zealand, Bahrain, Mexico, Spain and Canada.
“They have worked through the engineering design process and spent much time improving their robot designs through an iterative improvement process. They have been applying engineering concepts learned in their classes to do this,” said Brezina. “[CSM Professor and Student Success Center Director Ronda Jacobs] and I enjoy being on hand each week to see them logically work through problems like professional engineers.”
At the World Championships, the teams compete on a 12-foot-square field-of-play using two robots. The goal of this year’s competition “Skyrise” is to assemble vertical towers using interlocking pieces and to then gather and stack objects on the towers. One robot is designed to assemble and the other robot to stack.
The team of John Hamel of Mechanicsville, Jonathan Frank of Indian Head, Cody Graham of Great Mills, Allison DeCarlo of Charlotte Hall, John Ingram of Leonardtown and Ryan Achterberg of Lusby began building and programming the robots in September.
“Before graduation and their first jobs in engineering and computer programming, these students will have many opportunities to challenge their ingenuity, creativity and problem-solving skills on equipment that doesn’t cost millions of dollars. They are building leadership and collaboration skills along with the intellectual skills they will need to be successful in their careers. They are also building confidence,” said Brezina.
CSM has been a longtime supporter of robotics outreach including hosting K-12 and collegiate events. During the month of April, Spotlight on STEM hosted by CSM and other key partners, includes a number of community outreach events and activities including the Junior Division LEGO championship, Women + Math for girls ages 13-20 and a Regional Conference for educators to learn about best practices in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. These are expected to draw more than 3,500 students, educators and industry leaders.
Supporting STEM programs and activities at CSM are sponsors including, Platinum Sponsor CSM Foundation; Silver Sponsor The Patuxent Partnership for robotics programs; Bronze Sponsors BAE Systems and PNC Foundation; Event Partner Sponsors Exelon Generation Calvert Cliffs Nuclear, Lockheed Martin Foundation, Sabre Systems, Inc. and Vyalex Management Solutions.
For information on robotics and STEM events at CSM, visit www.csmd.edu/STEM.