Last month, while competing against more than 70 national and international universities in Dallas, Texas, Vaughn College Robotics Team won the Excellence Award — the highest honor presented at the VEX competitions.
The award is presented to a team that judges feel sets a good example for others in the competition and “best exemplifies overall excellence in building a high-quality robotics program.” In order to be considered, teams must submit an engineering notebook and rank high enough in different categories.
Vaughn College Robotics Team (VCAT) President Misael Marquez said that this win was a happy ending to his VEX career.
“Going from struggling to be competitive in high school to being one of the best in the world,” Marquez said. “As for the team, it shows that VCAT robotics has not died out after the previous champions left.”
The East Elmhurst college also earned third place for the robotics skills champion category and qualified for the VEX U Worlds Robotics Competition in 2023. VEX brings over 3,000 teams from 36 nations together to compete in STEM activities.
“The World Championship is a tough competition that only the top U.S. regional and world champions are qualified to participate in,” said Dr. Hossein Rahemi, chair of the engineering and technology department, who was on site lending support to the team. “The team worked extremely hard again this year and we want to congratulate the members for keeping their standing as one of the top-ranked competitors and best robotics teams in the world.”
VCAT finished qualifying rounds with a total of nine wins and only one loss. In round 16, the team defeated Mt. San Antonio College from California. In the quarterfinals, VCAT beat the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to advance to the semifinals. Finally, after an intense match, Vaughn lost to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Marquez said that he believes his team stood out due to their adaptability in competitions.
“Through all our failures we did our best to correct them,” Marquez said. “For example at our own event, a team scrimmaged us the night before and beat us several times. Overnight and the next morning, we were able to figure out a fix for our robots and strategy and beat the team when it counted. We ended up being in the finals for that event as well.”
Marquez said that since he graduated this year, he will be working at ArcBest Technologies as a mechatronic engineer, but hopes to become a robotics coach or teacher in the future.