One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Benjamin Konuch, Student Public Relations Writer

As defending champions in the American Society of Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Robotics Competition, Cedarville University’s team of engineering students will put its title on the line when it competes in the 2024 competition in Portland, Oregon. The event began on Monday, June 24. 

The Autonomous Robotics Competition is an event hosted at the ASEE annual conference. The event involves six to 10 engineering teams with freshman and sophomore students designing, building and competing with autonomous robots that fit a unique yearly prompt and criteria, including strict dimension limits within a $500 budget.  

Cedarville University first led a team in the competition in 2001. Guided by advisor Dr. Clint Kohl, senior professor of computer engineering, Cedarville students have used the opportunity to expand their learning and test their knowledge alongside other college students. Kohl first heard about the event when he served as a member of the ASEE and realized the potential that the experience could offer to Cedarville’s students. As an underclassmen-only event, Kohl saw how the competition could be used to bolster confidence and push students out of their comfort zones, no matter what branch of engineering students might be a part of.  

All majors from the School of Engineering are welcome to try out for the team, including computer science majors, computer engineers, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers. 

“We have a lot of competitions at Cedarville that are connected to the upperclassmen, such as their Senior Design Projects,” said Kohl. “But we’re getting so many students who have participated in programs and tournaments in high school who are itching at a chance to be challenged before their senior year, and the ASEE Competition provides that. It helps prepare them for the more challenging aspects of their majors and hone their skills as future engineers.” 

While Kohl has seen Cedarville’s teams enjoy multiple wins at the competition, he stresses that its greatest asset isn’t in the act of competing, but in teaching its competitors that they have what it takes to work together. In what is often the first college-level project its team members participate in, students are pushed to their limits and challenged to work side-by-side in different project groups such as the mechanical design group, the testing team and the programming team. This overall team structure helps teach competitors the value of teamwork and of reliance on other members within their organization to have their back and bring their projects home, which is something that Kohl maintains is priceless.  

“Competitions like these bring out the practical aspect of engineering that, at the end of the day, we have to get projects done, and we’re capable of doing so,” said Kohl. “Oftentimes we engineers can dream high and lofty, but sometimes we have to stop dreaming and start building our dreams into reality. The first step of that process is believing that we can, and the teaching moments for that is this competition’s greatest strength.” 

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