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TCC team takes third place in national robotic competition

Engineering students at Tidewater Community College took third place in the 2022 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Model Design Competition.

Teams from across the nation competed by building their robots and also developing a presentation about the design and build experience.

“I’m very proud of this team,” said William Simmons, Engineering professor and faculty advisor. “They did a tremendous job on their presentation and while the robot had a few hiccups, it was a great showing for the college.”

TCC team members are Delaney Theilman, Phillip Le, Danny Benson, Josh Hayes, Jacob Hayes, Jacob Ramirez and Will Dawson.

The TCC robot named “Merciless Tillie” is the fourth robot built by TCC students specifically for the competition.

“Practice makes perfect, and we did plenty of that preparing for this competition,” said Delaney Theilman, TCC engineering student and the team leader. “We had to come up with our own ideas and not use any kits.”

This ASEE competition is open to students at both 2-year and 4-year colleges. All of the TCC’s participants are members of the Engineering Club and the STEM Club.

The competition is held each year as part of the ASEE annual conference. The goal of the competition is to give student teams an opportunity to use the engineering design process to build an autonomous vehicle to complete a specified task and on a specified track.

“Competitions like this one build on what we are learning in the classroom,” Theilman added. “We became sort of jack of all trades in getting the project completed.”

Student teams faced many realistic challenges in this competition, such as constraints on cost, size, batteries, and, of course, time.

“It was a really great experience to build and troubleshoot the robot. We learned a lot by figuring out what was working and what wasn’t,” said Jacob Ramirez, TCC engineering student.

Student Josh Hayes added, “We gained skills in using the Inventor software and coding. We also made all of the complex parts using 3-D printers, laser cutters and other tools in the lab.”

Building success! The robot takes off on the right track.

Student teams not only have to build a vehicle to navigate the course and complete a specific task, but also have to give presentations before a panel of judges and provide written reports that include a summary of the team’s design efforts, CAD drawings, parts list and a cost analysis.

Engineering student Jacob Hayes added, “We learned those soft skills, too, like how to convey information and work as a team. The best part was making new friends.”

To learn more about TCC’s STEM programs, contact the Virtual Student Support Team at 757-822-1111.