Tag Archives: Sarah Withee

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 Hosts Women in Technology Panel


A panel discussion about women in technology was hosted at SCE on Wednesday, July 17.   SCE faculty Brian Hare helped to organize the event and computer science undergraduate Sarah Withee served on the panel.  About 20 people attended the  panel discussion which was organized by The Nerdery, a Minneapolis-based interactive software company with a presence in Kansas City.  The screening of the documentary film, “She++” helped to define the issues and was then followed by an open forum. 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.

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.

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

SCE students mentored award winning First Lego League teams

The Rock’n Robo Rabbits, a First Lego League team of homeschool students from the Learn Science and Math Club, earned the first place inspiration award at the First Lego League world competition held in St. Louis on April 28th. SCE mechanical engineering student Taya Upkes and SCE computer science student Sarah Withee mentored both the Rock’n Robo Rabbits and the ShawdowKnights during 2011-2012. Together Taya and Sarah logged over 150 hours mentoring the teams as they built and programmed their robots. Both teams competed in the December 2011 local qualifier competition winning awards and earned the right to compete at the January 2012 regional competition. The Rock’n Robo Rabbits won the Chairman’s award at the regionals and then the First Place Inspiration Award for extraordinary outreach and community service efforts at the April 2012 world competition. The ShadowKnights placed in the top twelve at regionals.

Sarah Withee’s team wins Best Mobile App at Hack the Midwest Contest

Hack the Midwest, an event designed to bring developers and designers together to create a working website or mobile app in 24 hours, brought together over 100 developers and 28 different apps. SCE’s own Sarah Withee, along with friends Abbey Trotta (a UMKC computer science alumni), Sarah Peters, and Kevin Donnelly developed an iPhone game called Number Scram. They won the Best Mobile App award, and received a Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch for the prize!

“Number Scram is a game where the goal is to score as many points as possible in 60 seconds. Points are scored by reaching a target number using a combination of digits and math operators. Users can earn multipliers to their score for each problem by using digits with an apple (2x) or gold star (3x) next to them. The app also keeps track of user stats including number of games played, highest score, average score and most math operators used in a single game.” Be sure to look for Number Scram in the Apple App Store in a few weeks. Screen shots of the app they developed can be found here.

Congratulations to Sarah and her teammates! Pictured from left to right: Kevin Donnelly, CS graduate from University of Missouri-Columbia; Sarah Peters, MSA CS graduate from Northwest Missouri State University; Abbey Trotta, CS graduate from UMKC and Sarah Withee, CS student at UMKC.

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.

Congratulations to SCE Programming Contest Winners

Our Computer Science Electrical Engineering Department’s student programming team won third place in the March 31, 2012 programming contest sponsored by the Consortium for Computing Science in Colleges at its annual conference in Springfield, MO. Teams from the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) student chapter competed. SCE is proud that our ACM student chapter programming team members took 3rd place in the competition. Sharing the $150.00 prize and bragging rights are Sarah Withee, Victoria Wu and Andrew Blackton. The School of Computing and Engineering congratulates Sarah, Victoria and Andrew!