Revenge of the big ‘bots at Western


More than 1,000 high school students, forming 35 teams, were on campus last weekend, with robots they built and programmed as part of the inaugural FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) – Western University District event, hosted by the Faculty of Engineering. The event saw students and their robots competing in sport, engineering, science and teamwork.

Students from across Ontario and the United States were tasked with designing and building 54-kilogram robots to compete head-to-head on tasks such as collecting fuel, installing gears and climbing structures. Students used their engineering, coding and design skills to program, test and operate their machines.

London Beal Secondary School’s Raider Robotics – robot No. 5024 – won first place and will compete at the Ontario championships in Mississauga later this month. From that competition, top teams will be selected to compete at the world championships in St. Louis, MO.

FIRST is an international non-profit organization designed to inspire students to pursue further studies and careers in STEM. Its programs reach 300,000 students in some 70 countries. Students develop skills in problem solving, innovation, leadership and teamwork as well as design, manufacturing, programming and testing.Leta_middle

“Western Engineering is proud to be partnering with FIRST Canada to host the inaugural FIRST Robotics district competition at Western. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to inspiring students to experience engineering in a dynamic and exciting environment that shines a light on what their future could hold,” said Joanne Moniz, Western Engineering’s Outreach Programs Coordinator. “The competition is more than robots, it is an opportunity for students to gain valuable leadership, problem solving and teamwork skills that will benefit them in their future post-secondary studies and careers.”

Pictured above is the winning robot – Beal Secondary School’s Raider Robotics, No. 5024 – as well as Beal students Mae VanDenDriesschen, Leta Ziegner and Michelle Peña Gdanski.