Florida Polytechnic University has qualified for the first time to compete at the prestigious VEX Robotics World Championship, which is being held April 25-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.
A total of 87 robotics teams from all over the world will compete at the college level. Florida Poly’s Purple Fire robotics team is one of only two Florida teams that qualified. The University of Florida will also be represented.
“It gives you a sense of pride,” said Zack Weingarten, a senior majoring in computer science. “I knew things would take time, but I was confident we were going to make it to ‘worlds.’ I didn’t know when, but here we are.” Weingarten, who is from Parkland, Florida, is the first president of the Florida Poly’s robotics club.
“We’ll be in an arena filled with 1,400 teams, from elementary to college. It can be intimidating, but I know we’re going to do well and we’re going to make an impact,” said sophomore computer engineering major Joseph Patullo, of Hollywood, Florida.
The eight student members of Purple Fire have been working toward making it to the VEX Championship since last September. And, although winning would be great, these students have their eyes on a bigger prize: jobs.
“These robotics competitions provide a full programming and logistics, hands-on experience that a lot of high-tech companies look for when they hire,” said freshman mechanical engineering major Brandon Ervin of Coral Springs, Florida. “It is all about how this learning process can later open doors for us in the job market.”
The VEX Robotics World Championship is organized by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation (REC). According to its website, their goal is to provide engaging tech-based programs that foster the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for students to succeed in the 21st century.
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