At left: West Haven High School STEM students Oreo Olowe, a junior (left), and James Delgado, a sophomore
Feb. 3, 2016
WEST HAVEN, CONN. – Thirty teams from high schools throughout Connecticut will be competing in a robotics competition at the University of New Haven on Saturday, Feb. 13.
The competition, UNH’s first, requires students to build a toy-sized robot out of gears, fasteners, rods and wires (think Erector-set materials) that can complete tasks such as launching a ball at a target or zooming around the room. The robots are controlled remotely and participate in game-based tournaments.
The competition will take place at the Beckerman Recreation Center beginning at 9 a.m. at the UNH main campus, 300 Boston Post Road. The snow date is Sunday, Feb. 14.
One lucky student, if he or she has already been admitted to UNH and wins the competition, could receive a $20,000 scholarship -- $5,000 a year for four years.
“UNH is delighted to sponsor this competition for two reasons: it encourages high school students to learn engineering and science concepts, and it emphasizes what it means to work on hands-on projects,” said Ronald Harichandran, dean of the UNH Tagliatela College of Engineering. “It is a perfect demonstration of the University’s commitment to experiential education.”
Students in the competition are part of a Vex Robotics Club. There are more than 10,000 clubs already in the United States and an additional 1,000 teams outside the U.S. Students who compete successfully at UNH can enter their robots in other competitions around the country and compete for scholarships.
The VEX Competitions are presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, which seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics programs across the U.S. and internationally.
Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state and global levels; local champions go on to compete against the very best at VEX Worlds each April.
Alec Andrulat, a UNH junior from Wallingford, Conn., who is studying systems engineering is president of the UNH Robotics Club and the person planning the competition. He says the students who participate love building the robots so much he jokes that “a robot could be your next Valentine.”
The UNH competition is the only one in the New Haven area, he said, with teams including up to 10 students.
“Students who participate in the competition learn a lot about engineering principles,” he said.
“It is a great way to apply education in STEM…with a fun outcome.”
Andrulat also noted that since students have to work in teams, they also learn a lot about working well with others. “The program is really fun, but it also teaches a lot of skills important in the real world,” he said.
Teams participating are from:
ESUMS (New Haven)
The competition is sponsored by University of New Haven’s colleges of engineering, arts and science, and business, the Provost’s Office, and the Project Lead the Way program.
The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 the university enrolls approximately 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.