NNU News

Student-engineers compete in robotics competition

February 26, 2015


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The Department of Physics and Engineering at Northwest Nazarene University is busy once again giving their students opportunities to take their learning outside the classroom, gain hands-on experience and have some fun too. This time it’s by participating in a VEX Robotics competition.

The VEX Robotics Competition is part of an educational initiative to give students a hands-on way to enhance their knowledge and experience with STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The competition is based on the VEX Robotics components sold by Innovation First International and is available for students from elementary to college level. Students work in teams to collaborate, share ideas and problem solve as they build complex robots with amazing capabilities out of mere parts.

The last weekend in February, a portion of the NNU VEX Robotics team–sophomores Lucas Pomeroy (Pasco, Wash.), Cole Logemann (Turlock, Calif.), Richie Grindstaff (Bad Axe, Mich.) and Alex Drinnon (Nampa, Idaho)–traveled to Arizona to represent the team in the regional qualifying competition for the VEX U World Championship. The team, led by Dr. Joshua Griffin, assistant professor of engineering, has been building two robots, which contended against seven other university teams’ creations at the competition.

"I chose to be a part of the VEX Robotics team so that I could get hands-on experience"
The team competed in a both a qualification and elimination tournament. They were 3-3 in the qualification tournament and made it to the semi-final round of the elimination tournament. This was by far the best performance of any VEX team in NNU history! This is the third year NNU has had a student VEX Robotics team, and each year the students have expanded their participation. They hope to return to the competition next year and do even better.

Because they rely on donations to remain operational, senior communication science major Rebekah Kelley joined the team as marketing director. She promotes and fundraises on their behalf so the team has the resources to build, compete and grow. She plans to pursue a career in technical communication after graduating. She and the team would like to thank the Micron Foundation, NNU Student Government and the individual contributors who have financially supported them.

The engineering students on the team see the direct value the project brings to their education as well. Cole Logemann says, “I chose to be a part of the VEX Robotics team so that I could get hands-on experience with some of the basic engineering concepts and apply some of those things that I have been learning through my studies here at NNU. In addition to the current benefits, I think that in the future when I am looking for an engineering job, being able to say that I was a part of this team will show a potential employer that I am a team player and that I have some foundational experiences that can be built upon to make me a better employee.”

Learn more about NNU's Department of Engineering and Physics by visiting their website.