A NOTE OF THANKS FOR EVERYONE WHO HELPED MAKE IT HAPPEN!
We’ve come of age! This is the 21 st Annual running of the Robot Challenge at the Baltimore Museum of Industry! We had a good turn-out, the teams were more creative than ever - especially with the robot carrying-cases, and we had some good Track times recorded, for both Manual and Automated runs.
I would like to thank all the IEEE engineers and associates, on behalf of the IEEE Baltimore Section, for the great performance that assured that the students would have a memorable experience that will stay with them throughout their career. Whether these students go on to become engineers or some other professional, this experience will have provided them with the ability to build, test and evaluate their performance, improve their Writing skills, Scheduling and Oral Presentation skills, and instill confidence that they can make mistakes yet complete a project, on time, and demonstrably to spec. It will have allowed them to develop their fine motor skills, learn to solder, and to have fun developing artistic creations such as are needed for great projects, rather than be content with just so.
The judging of the Written Reports was held at Northrup Grumman the previous Monday, with 58 reports submitted. Each report was evaluated by at least two judges, sometimes three, and this data provided the first of the 4 scores that make up each total.
Last year’s Main Event was held over 2 days, but most teams opted for Sunday, so as an experiment, we tried to see if we could run it entirely on Sunday this year. It worked out for the teams, but it was a long day for the judges and support staff, so we are going to re-arrange it a bit next year, and see if we can do better.
We had 40 teams on Sunday (up from 31 teams last year), and we had a fantastic mix of students from every background, both boys AND girls, all working to prove out their robots on the Track and their performance with the judges for their Oral Presentations and the review of Workmanship and Creativity.
We had many judges but I would like to particularly mention Dave Boyd, chief judge for the Track events, and Brian Sequeira, chief judge for the Oral Presentations, who led the teams of judges throughout the day.
Keeping track of what was going on were our Administrators, John and Katie Dentler and Scott Goedeke, Charlie Ng our Registrations documentor, and Rachel Jacobs our announcer, teams coordinator and Awards presenter (with her daughter Ariella!). Without them nothing would have been possible!
On the technical scene, and the salvation for many a team, were the PIT specialists, ably led by Bill Semancik. We started this feature a number of years ago, and it has been a great way to assure that every team starts out with a robot that is mechanically functional before they get on the Track. I'm sure many a team has thanked them very profusely for their timely interventions!
There is a lot of background work that goes into the preparation for this event, not the least being the distribution of kits and keeping track of charges and expenses. Jay Gamerman was the lead in this effort, and was the designer of the Automation option. He also coordinated the schools and mentors, a vital aspect in helping the schools succeed and getting their teams to the Event. Also helping in this area was Jeff Friedhoffer, who handled Registration, our web-site, was a mentor, and is our official photographer and curator. We'd like to thank the other mentors as well - they did a fabulous job keeping the students engaged before the Event.
You can see that this really is a team event. To all the judges many thanks! Give yourselves a real pat on the back - you are the ones these students meet face-to face, and you will have made all the difference in making this a memorable experience for them. Please take a look at some of these pictures to get a feel of how special this was.
The following were Judges at the Sunday’s event:
Syed Ahmad, Paul Behrends, Vince Bonina, Steve Bonk, Dave Boyd, Renee Casimir, Bill Dixon, Russell Graham, Boris Gramatikov, Tanner Horner, Suzanne Kielson, Lisa Marvel, David Mutschler, Barin Nag, Dawn Reyes, Rob Schmid, Brian Sequeira, Jeff Weiss, Dick Worsham, and Hong Yu.
The following were judges of the Written Reports the previous Monday:
John Dentler, Bill Dixon, Jay Gamerman, Scott Goedeke, Boris Gramatikov, Tanner Horner, Danny Jordan, Dave Kisak, Benaud Menachery, David Mutschler, Barin Nag, Bill Semancik, Rob Schmid, and Larry Stern.
The PIT specialists on Sunday were: Dave Kisak, Steve Bresson, and Bill Semancik.
Photographers and Videographers on Sunday were: Jeff Friedhoffer, Charlie Ng, Larry Stern, and Jeff Weiss.
As for me, my involvement was with the preparations for the event and the written reports. I had the opportunity to work with Jamie Keffer and Melinda Cane at the BMI, with the Associated Societies Council at the Engineering Society of Baltimore, and with Tim Neary, who handled the food that sustained our judges and participants, and organized the team that provided the light dinner we all had before the Awards ceremony. Once the event started, it was the whole bunch of you who did the work and made it look polished, and my very special thanks to every one of you.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the Officers and Board members of the Baltimore Section of IEEE. They provided the support and a good part of the funding for this activity. It really was a Team effort!
Hope you enjoyed the experience, and thank you again for making it happen!