LU students collab to bring robotics to Southeast Texas

From a young age, Christine Osborne, recent graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, and senior, Ryan Shugart, a triple major in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and mathematics, have been interested in robotics. The pair have been involved in robotics since they attended Pasadena Memorial High School. Once attending LU, the two knew they wanted to continue their love for robotics.  Robotics

Both students recognized an opportunity that ignited a passion to make robotics a staple in Southeast Texas. Through trial and error, the two created Robotic Cardinals, LU’s first ever robotics club.  

“I believe robotics is important because it creates a variety of challenges though many fields like mechanical, electrical and computer engineering,” Shugart said. “You learn all of this in class, but you can’t apply it in everyday life until you have your career. Robotics competitions allow students to apply classroom learning to be applied in real experiences.” 

After Robotic Cardinals began, the Beaumont Independent School District saw a need for automation education and reached out to Cardinal S.O.A.R., Student Outreach and Academic Readiness, for a partnership with LU. Cardinal S.O.A.R. had the perfect team in mind, Osborne and Shugart. Cardinal S.O.A.R. contacted the two because of their impact on Project Engineer, an engineering robotics summer camp, and requested Robotic Cardinals to mentor local teachers on starting a robotics program in their schools.  

All their hard work over the years led up to the inaugural LU VEX Robotics Competition. VEX Robotics is an organization that brings robotic programs to students of all ages. Through VEX Robotics, Robotics Cardinals was able to host an official competition where a certified VEX Robotics judge was present.  

“Thanks to the help of the Honors college and TAHL for their volunteer help, we were able to make the LU VEX Robotics Competition happen sooner than we expected,” Shugart said. “Seeing the students light up when their creations come to life was gratifying. I hope to see this continue to grow for years to come.”   

With a total of 9 teams, the competition was a success. Silsbee High School, better known as Red Alliance, took first place in a close competition. The students upload software to manage the robot. The students are very involved in programming with lots of trial and error to ensure dependability. This year's competition was a disc sport where the robot must toss discs into a chain basket for points.  

“This was beyond my wildest dreams. We’ve been wanting to do this since freshman year and seeing it come to life was amazing,” Osborne said. “This started small, but it was incredible. Seeing the students light up was amazing. The students had so much emotion and devotion to their creations. This was their playoffs and they came to play.” 

With the two student’s LU journey coming to an end, Osborne and Shugart have worked hard to build a lasting student organization that will not only benefit LU, but the community as well. The Lamar University College of Engineering is thrilled to be a part of the future generation of robotics.   

To learn more about the College of Engineering, visit