Sun Devil Robotics Club (SDRC) took home the award for Most Active FSO at the 2015-2016 Student Organization Awards & Recognition (SOAR) Ceremony on Thursday, April 28th for their dedication to competition, outreach, and professional development. Outgoing president and founding member Sami Mian – who took home an award of his own – told us why SDRC is so deserving of this award.
The organization competes in several national and international robotics competitions, with teams composed of a diverse group of engineering students and robotics enthusiasts. A few of these competitions include the VEX U Collegiate Competition (which ASU was instrumental in starting in the state of Arizona), the Intel Cornell Cup and Shanghai Cup Embedded Systems Challenges, the RoboCup SPL competition, and the AUVSI Robosub Competition. SDR members also collaborate with several other groups on campus for some of these events. This year, the Sun Devil Robotics qualified for the final round of the Intel Shanghai competition, from over 900 teams, and will present to judges at a conference in China. The Cornell Cup team has reached Finalist status and will present at NASA in May. The Robosub group has qualified for the international competition this July in California, and reaching the semi-finals last year as a rookie team. At all of these events, Sun Devil Robotics proudly supports the ASU Engineering School and spreads awareness of the program at the national level.
Sun Devil Robotics focuses its outreach efforts through STEM robotics programs and competitions throughout Arizona. The biggest program is the FIRST Lego League (FLL). Each year, SDR helps organize regional and state tournaments for the FLL program across the valley. Sun Devil Robotics was responsible for starting 2 new regionals: ASU Polytechnic and Chandler Valley. For the past four years, SDR members made up the judging teams for both these competitions, as well as for the state championship. SDR members sit on the regional planning committees of several robotics competitions in the valley (FIRST competitions, VEX) and provide support and skills when planning tournaments and spreading STEM in the community. SDR is also involved with many on campus activities, including recruiting event for the Engineering school. SDR instills in its members’ the importance of giving back to the community through volunteerism, and these opportunities are a perfect way to get involved.
SDR has been helping add an “engineering flair” to the Fulton Convocations in the past few semesters by participating in the ceremony with several robots, most notably the airborn multicopters. This event allows the team, and the engineering school by extension, to share with the friends, family, and community of students what kinds of fantastic projects are happening at ASU, and to demo the kinds of talent and ability Fulton engineers possess.
A large part of the robotics club is focused on strengthening the skills and abilities of the members. ASU students who participate on competition teams within the club are able to apply the skills they are learning in class with a hands on example of engineering: the robots. Teams utilize the engineering design process to build competition bots, from start to finish; these hands on projects allow students to test their new-found knowledge and see whether or not what they are learning in class is applicable real life problems. This hands-on learning is facilitated by workshops that are held on various topics, including engineering skills, programming, and lectures from members of industry. This year, we started teaching workshops focused on soldering, bread-boarding, and PCB design (all of which are crucial skills for internships).
Thanks for helping us recognize SDRC, Sami. Here’s to another great year!