College of Engineering, Robotic Cardinals host VEX Robotics Competition

Lamar University's College of Engineering and the Robotic Cardinals successfully hosted their second annual VEX Robotics Competition on Jan. 20, bringing together high school students from across Texas.  Student with Robot at Competition

The competition, held in Lamar University's McDonald Gym, attracted nearly 200 high school students. 

“The competition went from hosting about 30 students last year to around 200 students this year. Along with this, we saw new, local teams from Beaumont ISD at the competition, and we are glad we get to help start programs in our area,” Robotic Cardinal member Robert Barton said. “Providing students with opportunities to compete in STEM fields in high school enables them to become passionate about a field and encourages them to pursue it beyond high school. These STEM programs play a key role in raising up future engineers, doctors, programmers, and teachers in our community.”  

The Lamar University VEX Robotics Competition encouraged students to apply the engineering design process as they created unique robots to tackle the annual challenge. The competition featured a range of activities, including robot building, practice sessions, and head-to-head competitions throughout the day. 

VEX Robotics Competitions, VRC for short, contributes to the overall educational experience because it transforms learning from a classroom testing environment to a hands-on experience that is more closely related to sports, testing the brightest minds in one of the most challenging competitions,” Robotics Cardinals co-founder Ryan Shugart said.  

Group of Students at Robotics CampStudents participating in the competition engaged in a full 8-hour schedule, involving various aspects of the competition such as refining their robot builds, practicing on designated fields, and competing in multiple challenges with all activities emphasizing collaboration and communication.  

“Students actively plan out objectives with other teams to work together and ultimately increase their chances of winning,” Shugart said. “Communication and collaboration in these events are hypercritical because the opponent is making their move at the exact same time and adjusting strategy to in-game matches is one of the keys to winning.” 

With the success of the competition, Robotic Cardinals aims to foster a passion for robotics in southeast Texas.   

“One of our biggest goals is to advocate for robotics in our local community,” Barton said. “In the future, we hope to see more schools in this area start robotics programs and join us for next year's tournament.”