Every year, students from across the county come together in school gyms and auditoriums to take part in VEX Robotics competitions, hoping for a spot in the world championships.
The events give STEM students a chance to put their innovative skills to the test and are held by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation (REC), which is the largest international middle and high school robotics program. To complete, students build robots based on game challenges and compete in teams designed to test their collaboration and critical thinking.
This year, University of Advancing Technology (UAT) students participated from the other side of the field, judging teams during the Desert Ridge High School Competition. David del Pinal, Desert Ridge graduate and current UAT student, got the UAT Robotics Club involved in the 8th Annual Desert Ridge State Qualifier as competition judges on February 12, 2022.
Max Edward, David del Pinal, Michael Brewer, and Donald Christensen volunteered to take part and judge the teams on their fields as they took on the VEX Tipping Point Challenge (https://www.roboticseducation.org/teams/vex-robotics-competition/).
“When I was first asked if I wanted to help judge a high school Vex Robotics competition, it only took seconds for me to say yes,” said Donald Christensen, UAT robotics student. “We all met early that Saturday morning to drive there, and I was extremely excited to see what these young kids had put together over the last few weeks.”
Christensen was not disappointed. “My excitement was met with bigger outcomes than I had ever thought,” he said. “The ingenuity that was displayed was remarkable. These kids truly understood the engineering design process and were able to explain how to use it in detail. I would definitely go again.”
UAT students judged the competitors on a variety of mechanical tasks completed by their bots. For example, scoring rings, moving mobile goals to zones, and elevating on platforms. Each year the challenges, playing field, and scoring changes, so there is always a new objective for participants.
Teams from Chandler, Queen Creek, and Goodyear High Schools won the top awards at Desert Ridge, and full results are available at https://www.robotevents.com/robot-competitions/vex-robotics-competition/RE-VRC-21-4879.html#awards.
Winners will move on to the World Championship May 3, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. Good luck to all competitors!
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