Tag Archives: Debby Dilks

UMKC Robotics Team and Eta Kappa Nu Teach Middle School Students Electricity and Circuits


Students from two UMKC School of Computing and Engineering organizations recently teamed up to teach electricity and circuits to nearly 400 middle school students at Osage Trails Middle School in Independence, MO.

The UMKC Robotics Team and Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical and computer engineering honor society, have taught these sessions for the past nine years. After introducing the students to the fundamental concepts of electricity, the UMKC group led the students in building what was for some their first circuit. In addition, the robotics team took robots from past competitions and an arm from their current design, demonstrating the capabilities and potential applications of engineering and computer science.

This event is organized by Debby Dilks, an adviser for both organizations, and manager of the Computer Science Electrical Engineering Department of SCE. The UMKC students attending included RT Leryoskajai, Tony Miles, Noah Rhee and Aaron Rush from Eta Kappa Nu and Eric Gonzalez and Sarah Withee from the robotics team.

OsageTrails-2 OsageTrails-3 OsageTrails-1

SCE Outreach Activities in KC Continue to Grow

SCE Outreach

SCE knows that the future of our nation will be significantly determined by the state of our technologies and our computing and engineering capability. To this end, SCE faculty, staff and students are working with area schools, community and professional organizations and K-12 STEM outreach programs to increase our region’s STEM pipeline and ultimately the number of STEM professionals for America.

Continue reading

UMKC Robotics Team Spreads the Word

Over the past several years our UMKC IEEE Robotics team and the UMKC IEEE student chapter has substantially increased the number of SCE students, both currently enrolled and alumni, involved in STEM outreach activities. Sharing their passion for programming, gizmos, gadgets and robots, IEEE student organization and team activities were featured in the UMKC Today article “Big Army, Little Bot”. This year’s UMKC IEEE student members involved in outreach are Eddie Pogosov, Ariel Muthyala, Victoria Wu, Matt Mohler, Andrew Blackton, Victor Skulavik III, Sarah Withee, Chris Wolfe, Mladen Kojic, Eric Gonzalez, RT Leryoskajai, W. Oliver Craig, Cody Kaspzyk, Scott McElfresh and Darren Cogan. The UMKC IEEE faculty advisor is Dr. Reza Derakhshani and Debby Dilks is the UMKC IEEEE robotics team staff advisor.

SCE well represented at IEEE Region 5 Conference in Denver, CO

Two SCE senior design teams and our UMKC IEEE Robotics Team traveled to Denver, CO to attend the April 6-7, 2013 IEEE Region 5 Annual Meeting and Student Competitions. Our group of 27 students joined teams from across Region 5, twenty-seven in total. Due to some technical challenges, only 4 robots out of 24 competing were able to score. UMKC along with all others with no score placed 5th. Accompanying our SCE student teams were IEEE Student Chapter Staff Advisor Debby Dilks and ECE senior design faculty Dr. Reza Derakhshani.

Eta Kappa Nu and the UMKC Robotics Team Makes Electricity & Circuits Fun for Middle Schoolers

Benjamin Franklin wrote “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” He would be proud of the six UMKC students from our engineering honor society Eta Kappa Nu and the UMKC Robotics Team. On January 25, 2013 they travelled to Osage Trails Middle School in the Fort Osage School District in Independence, MO to teach electricity and circuits and demonstrate a robot. Starting at 7:15 a.m. and finishing at 2:30 p.m., the students along with their advisor, Debby Dilks, taught six class periods. They demonstrated sound traveling through laser light beams, static electricity, robot programming and provided hands-on experience using snap circuit kits. Over 375 students participated though out the day. The UMKC students – Kelsey Knoche, Matt Mohler, Ariel Muthyala, Eddie Pogosov, Victor Skulavik, Sarah Withee – left Osage Trails knowing old Ben was right.

SCE turns out to help with FIRST Tech Challenge regional competition at UMKC

Dozens of SCE’s faculty, staff, students and alumni volunteered at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) regional qualifier, RING IT UP, held Sunday, Feb. 3rd at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and hosted by SCE in partnership with the KC STEM Alliance. Pictures taken by the Kansas City Star captured the excitement and the many SCE volunteers serving on set-up, registration, safety, competition, judging, pit, queuing, refreshment, and traffic crews and as scorekeepers, announcers, and referees.

The event, organized and coordinated by SCE’s Whitney Molloy and Valeri Reynolds, attracted 23 teams from the Greater Kansas City area and beyond as teams traveled from Camdenton, St Louis, and Rolla in MO, Millington, TN and Lincoln, NE to participate. The following teams advanced to the state championship to be held in Rolla, MO on Feb. 23: iBot, Rolla Patriots, Cyberbotic Independence Alliance, Maniacal Mechanics, Camdenton 4-H Laser -5909, and TJ Titanium Titans.

UMKC IEEE Robotics Team Promote Robotics at State Fair

Our IEEE Robot and its creators, the IEEE Robotics team, traveled to the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, MO to participate in Show ME Robots. This annual two day event uses robot demonstrations, exhibits and hands-on activities to interest and promote STEM studies and careers, including robotics, to Missourians. The IEEE team talked with several children and their parents/grandparents, some from as far away as Michigan. This is the third year the UMKC IEEE team has participated along with other robot teams invited by the organizer Bill Pabst, 4-H Youth Development Specialist, with the Missouri 4-H Center for Youth Development. The teams enjoy visiting with each other when time permits. Teams from FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST Lego League, 4-H and BEST (those with the bigger robots) have a friendly competition on the second day of the event. UMKC IEEE Robotics team was the only University Robot team at the event. Due to the time it takes to travel to the event our UMKC IEEE Robotics team was only able to stay one day, Sunday August 12. The Kansas City and St. Louis Robotics Society also had displays and Mizzou students demonstrated a robot they use in their agricultural program demonstrating planting.

Pictured in photo below from left to right are: Debby Dilks, UMKC IEEE Staff Advisor, and UMKC IEEE Robotics team members ‘Mel Carter, Herber Hernandez, Ariel Muthyala, Matt Mohler, Sarah Withee, and Victoria Wu

UMKC SCE faculty and students lead hands-on experiments

The Kansas City Power and Light’s Get Into Energy Camp ran from June 20-22, and served 24 Kansas City, MO area students. Participating schools were Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, Frontier School of Excellence, Paseo Academy of Performing Arts and Southwest High School. The School of Computing and Engineering faculty and students led the young participants through hands-on experiments that demonstrated magnetism, physics and electricity. The camp was held at SCE in Flarsheim Hall. UMKC SCE Professors Daniel Leon-Salas and Mike Kelly and UMKC Physics Professor Robert Riggs provided hands-on instruction. Six UMKC IEEE Robotics team members and their advisor Debby Dilks provided instruction on circuits and energy using circuit and green technology kits. Also supporting the camp was the KC STEM Alliance, an independent initiative based at UMKC with a mission of inspiring more students to pursue careers in STEM and build a robust workforce for the region. For more details and slideshow visit “Get into Energy” and also see the 06.26.12 UMatters article.

IEEE Robotics Team Competes in Tulsa, OK

Fourteen student members and three advisors from the UMKC IEEE Robotics Team travelled to Tulsa, Oklahoma on April 19th for the annual Region 5 IEEE Robotics Competition. Two robots were entered the competition from UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering, but only one robot was checked-in to compete because of a motor malfunction. Due to a miscommunication, the second robot was placed by a judge instead of a team member (as has been the rule for the past seven years) on the track in a different location than anticipated causing the robot to miss the first targeted energy source. Clement Lumanyika and Andrew Gatrost entered the Circuit Design Competition and came in fourth place. Two Robot Team alumni came to the competition to show their support and various others were watching on UTube. Unfortunately team members Mell Carter and Blake Huntington were not able to attend the competition.

Congratulations to the UMKC IEEE Robotics Team members Scot Banes, Andrew Blackton, Mell Carter, Lisa Chen, Oliver Craig, Tim Gitau, Blake Huntington, Aaron Hurst, Clement Lumanyika, Matt Mohler, Ariel Muthyala, Eddie Pogosov, Victor Skulavik, Jordie Smith, Sarah Withee, Vicky Wu and the IEEE Robotics Team advisors Eddie Burris, Reza Derakhshani and Debby Dilks.

Outstanding Students & Teams honored at SCE’s Spring Awards

SCE honored our outstanding students and student teams at the UMKC SCE Spring Awards Reception held on April 26, 2012. Outstanding student awards were announced for a junior, senior, masters and I.Ph.D student in each of SCE’s degree programs. Outstanding students are selected by their department’s faculty. Selection is based on GPA and the student’s contributions in terms of participation and leadership in SCE student organizations and teams. Student competition teams receiving awards included the ASCE Steel Bridge Team who earned first place at the 2012 regional competition, the ACM Programming Team who won 3rd place at the 2012 Central Plains Conference Programming Competition, the IEEE Robotics Team who won 4th place in circuit design at their regional competition and the SAE Baja Buggy Team who qualified for the next competition level. Congratulations to the all our Spring Award recipients!

Also honored were Good Teaching Award Recipients Jerry Richardson of SCE’s Civil and Mechanical Engineering Department and Brian Hare of SCE’s Computer Science Electrical Engineering Department for their excellence in teaching.