SCC and General Motors Partner for 14th Annual Robotics Challenge

March 06, 2012

STEM subjects, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, were put to use Friday, March 2, at the 14th annual Robotics Challenge, a competition for high school and middle school students put on by the St. Charles Community College Workforce Development Department and General Motors.

SCC and General Motors Partner for 14th Annual Robotics Challenge

The “Robo Dogs” from Fort Zumwalt South High School receive a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® kit for being a first place finisher at the 14th annual Robotics Challenge at SCC on March 2.

In the challenge, student teams used LEGO® MINDSTORMS® to build an automated racking system. Brian Steber, senior manufacturing engineer at the General Motors Wentzville Assembly Center, wrote the challenge for students based on a real-world application used at General Motors.

Students assumed the roles of technician, engineer, salesman, etc., and presented their robots to a panel of judges. And, just like a real-life company would bid on a project, students had to provide a bid proposal form, time sheet and estimate worksheet.

“You have actually used skills that people use in the workforce every day; those are teamwork, critical thinking, communication, technical reading, problem solving, logical thinking, computer programming, and basic mechanical skills,” said Tammie De Los Santos, manager of workforce development initiatives, during the awards presentation. “Regardless of what career path you choose, you will be using these skills as you move forward in your field.”

General Motors provided the top two teams, both from Fort Zumwalt South High School, with LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robotics kits. Teams from Barnwell Middle School were the two second and two third place finishers.

Breakout sessions presented during the day included infrared thermography by General Motors, crime scene investigation by St. Peters Police Department, living with robots by Boeing, and a session by SCC’s Workforce Development Department.

Judges were current and retired engineers, including James Barnett, Kirby Diller, Edward Dewhirst, Norm Fadler, Bob Hayes, Emmett Hohensee, Kenneth Humbertson, Edwin Karl and H. Ward Silver.

For more information on the Robotics Challenge or other school-business programs, contact De Los Santos at

Established in 1986, St. Charles Community College is celebrating 25 years as a public, comprehensive two-year community college with associate degrees and certificate programs in the arts, business, sciences and career-technical fields. SCC provides workforce training and community-based personal and professional development as well as cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities. For more information, visit

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