The Charger Blog

University Hosts Hands-On Robotics Competition

The VEX Robotics competition was an exciting opportunity for STEM students to apply what they’ve learned in a real-world setting. Erik Parker ’25, president of the University’s Robotics Club, reflects on the exciting experience.

February 16, 2024

By Erik Parker ’25

The competition was held at the Beckerman Recreation Center.
The competition was held at the Beckerman Recreation Center.

As an advocate for advancing STEM education, I firmly believe that STEM serves as the cornerstone for global progress. In my view, everyone should have access to opportunities within the realm of STEM. VEX Robotics, an educational robotics system made for this exact reason, provides students with avenues to explore competitive robotics in ways never before possible.

We recently hosted a competition event in the Beckerman Recreation Center, providing 38 teams of local high school students with a way to show off their STEM skills. Organizing this event was a team effort between my team and the faculty. The Robotics Club e-board took charge of recruiting a group of people to help with set-up and teardown and boy did we need them. We showed up with a small army of approximately 35 people and jumped into action. A few hours of work later, the Beckerman Center was transformed into a robotics competition area fit for nearly 200 students.

Along with gathering a group of volunteers, we designed and crafted medals for the competitors to go along with their trophies. Robotics e-board member Marc Santacapita ’25 designed the medals, which were then 3D printed with resin technology, providing a high-quality finished product to hand out to the competitors.

A room full of students working on robotics equipment.
The event was fun way for students to apply their STEM skills.
‘Real-world STEM applications’

During the event, my team and I juggled several tasks, including field reset, team queueing, managing the skills field, and so much more. It's worth emphasizing that none of this would have been possible without the exceptional dedication of the entire team. Despite the relentless demands of the day, they rose to the occasion admirably, ensuring the event ran seamlessly from start to finish.

After a long two days, only cleanup remained. Despite exhaustion and without a single complaint, my team had no hesitation to jump in and start tearing down the fields. Bill McDonough, representing VEX from the Connecticut Technology Engineering Education Association, mentioned that our event was one of the smoothest he’d experienced.

Students collaborate during the competition.
Students collaborate during the competition.

I am immensely grateful for my incredible team for making this whole event possible and for providing students with an event to engage with real-world STEM applications.

Erik Parker ’25 is an electrical and computer engineering major at the University of New Haven and serves as president of the Robotics Club.

Students working together on a robot.
Students explore robotics as part of the competition.