Dr. Chris Merrill, professor of technology and engineering education, and Troy Blunier, instructional assistant professor, were administrators for the VEX IQ (Elementary Competition) and VEX VRC Tipping Point events which were held at Rich Township High School STEM Campus in Olympia Fields, Illinois on February 26, 2022.

Students William Maire, John Basnik, and Yoni Leibovitz, Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association members, and Kenneth Blackburn and Bryan Soto, Engineering Technology Club members were either judges or referees at both the VCR and IQ events. The students were trained and certified as judges and/or referees prior to the competition

“It never ceases to amaze me how broad the field of Engineering and Technology Education is,” Maire said. “Up until the two most recent Vex Robotics events, held at Rich Township, I had no prior experience, and this has only added to the forever ending list of classes I would like to teach others one day. With only two events under my belt, the students have honestly taught me more than I’ve taught them.”

The VEX Robotics competition prepares students to become future innovators, with 95 percent of participants reporting an increased interest in STEM subject areas and pursuing STEM-related careers. The teams design, build, and program robots to compete at tournaments. During the tournaments, teams participate in qualifying matches where randomly chosen teams compete for the highest team ranking.