COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 27, 2023 — The Women in Engineering VEX-U Robotics Team is —yet again —set out to take on the regionals VEX-U Robotics Competition held this Saturday, March 4th, after winning the Science Division’s Design Award at VEX-U World Championship last year.
This year’s robotic challenge, known as “Spin Up,” requires their robots to launch coin-shaped disks into high and low goals. They compete with different teams to rack up points while defending their own goals. Much like a game of basketball, but instead of the basketball players, it’s the robots that play the match.
The VEX-U Robotics teams started planning their robots in the summer of 2022, but it wasn’t until this fall that they got the chance to bring their blueprints to life. While the robots’ mechanics sub-team worked hard to piece together part by part, the programming sub-team coded the robots and developed strategies to play the game. Moreover, the VEX-U Robotics team successfully overcame minor setbacks & issues in the robots’ mechanics and are now on track to display their robots’ skills.
“I’m most looking forward to presenting our hard work … to the other teams at competition,” said Sarah Beltran, one of the two Co-Captain of VEX-U Robotics. “I’m [proud of] watching my teammates come out with their best foot forward.”
Since the VEX-U Robotics Team was established in 2015, the team has received two Excellence Awards, the highest award at regional competition, and qualified twice for the World Championship. In fact, it received the Science Division’s Design Award at the World Championship just last year, earning state recognition in the process. After much preparation and teamwork, they aim to reach for the World Championship again this year.
Although the VEX-U Robotics Program is an All-Gender Inclusive program, they believe in the empowerment of women and aim to support women who pursue careers the STEM fields. They give young women the opportunity to gain valuable experience on STEM or engineering projects that were previously predominantly taken over by men. As a freshman engineering student, Prachi Pratyusha, finds it comforting to meet and work together with other women pursuing STEM. It brought her to appreciate engineering more.
“We often complain about being the only woman in an engineering class,” said Pratyusha. “The VEX-U team allowed me to find and befriend other people that I would not be able to find through classes.”