Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Engineering Students on a Roll ; Four Teams Enter Their Robots in National Competition on Weekend

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

UE Engineering Students on a Roll ; Four Teams Enter Their Robots in National Competition on Weekend

Article excerpt

Rolling Rosie, a firefighting robot built from what used to be a shelf in the Victoria's Secret store at Evansville's Eastland Mall, will wear a bow during national robotics competition this weekend in Hartford, Conn. Rolling Rosie was designed by the University of Evansville's first all-female engineering team, Ariel Cockerham and Kendra Norris, but they've been around the guys so long, they said they don't even notice they're the only females.

Eight UE electrical engineering and computer science students, split into four teams, will participate in three different contests in this weekend.

The robots are part of a senior project for the students that they spend an entire year researching, developing and constructing.

Despite people sometimes being shocked that they are electrical engineering majors, Cockerham said "it seems normal."

"More women need to do it," she said. "I wish it would get out of the stereotype of just being a man's thing even though my dad was basically my biggest pusher."

Two teams will compete in the firefighting robot contest at Trinity College, where the machine must navigate a maze, locate a burning candle and extinguish the flame.

It will be UE's first year to enter the RoboWaiter contest, also at Trinity, where a robot carries a plate of food and serves it to a person who has a disability.

In Jacksonville, Fla., one team will compete in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) SoutheastCon Robot contest where robots simulate sorting containers and packages at a port by picking up boxes of different colors and sizes, then sorting them for shipping.

Dick Blandford, a professor and chair of UE's department of electrical engineering and computer science, said being a small school allows UE to participate in these types of competitions that create real world skills.

"We do a lot of projects, and the key thing about projects is they get hooked on them," he said. "It's something they really like to do, and they're in here day and night. …

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