OCtech NSBE Jr. Orengineers Win Big in Boston

Photo of NSBE team
Pictured are, from left, Orengineer team members Danielle Dantzler, Angela Robinson, Jalena Jones, Jacquelyn Walker and Kirubha Rahjadas with Phyllis Pelzer, OCtech’s NSBE advisor and VEX coach.

Twenty-one teams. Two days of competition. One big win.

In March, students from the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Chapter competed in the VEX Robotics Championship at the NSBE National Convention in Boston, Mass.

The Middle College students – team Orengineers – were tasked with designing and building a robot for the Nothing But Net Competition. Two alliances comprised of two teams each competed in matches that resembled a mashup between basketball and hockey. OCtech’s NSBE Jr. Chapter won every match they played, and by the end of day one, they were ranked second-place overall.

The Orengineers made it to the final round on day two, where its members competed in a three-team alliance with teams from Texas and Ohio. Their alliance won, and the teams had to give a formal presentation to a panel of judges in which they described the team’s engineering design process, challenges and successes, and displayed the group’s engineering journal of activities. The Orengineers not only won the championship with their alliance, but the team also received the Judges Award for its exemplary performance.

“It was great going through the process of making the robot, from designing it to building it, programming it and watching it in action,” Chapter President Jalena Jones said. “We would not have been able to achieve such a victory without teamwork. Being on the VEX team has not only exposed my teammates and I to robotics and engineering – it has brought us together and taught us the value of communication.”

Orengineers members were Kirubha Rajadhas, Danielle Dantzler and Jacquelyn Walker of the High School for Health Professions; and Jones and Angela Robinson of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School. Phyllis Pelzer was OCtech’s NSBE advisor and VEX coach.

For more information about the college’s robotics program, call 803-535-1538.