Let's All Be Engineers! Robots Make Science Fun at WWC

Ready. Set. LEGO! Five teams from Oregon and Alaska battled it out during the FIRST LEGO League Challenge hosted by the Edward F. Cross School of Engineering in partnership with the Adventist Robotics League.

The April 10 event was a high-tech academic challenge. Each team’s mission was simple: to design, build and test LEGO robots able to perform specific tasks. This year’s challenge, “Ocean Odyssey,” called for teams to research and present robotics technology solutions to sustain the health, biodiversity and productivity of the world’s oceans.

Regina Cashen, Technic Tyrants assistant coach, from Burns, Ore., discovered the robotics challenge while searching for a Pathfinder club for her two sons, Sean, 11, and Ryan, 9. “It’s been a great experience. The team has learned about public speaking, logistics and a lot about teamwork,” Cashen says. “Now the students all want to be engineers!”

Marlene Baerg, challenge coordinator and director of engineering recruitment, says that’s common. “Students who have been involved with FIRST LEGO league are three times more likely to pursue a degree in engineering than those who have not participated in the program.”

Participating teams included The Frozen Chosen, from Anchorage Junior Academy in Anchorage, Alaska; The 24’s, from Milton Stateline Adventist School in Milton Freewater, Ore.; Hurricane, from Three Sisters Adventist School in Bend, Ore.; Iiggestas, from Nome Adventist School in Nome, Alaska; and the Technic Tyrants.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter. FIRST’s mission is to make science as cool as possible. The Adventist Robotics League has partnered with FIRST to help foster this creativity and inspiration. More information is available at www.adventistroboticsleague.net or by contacting Baerg at baerma@wwc.edu or (509) 527-2446.

June 01, 2006 / Walla Walla University