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Ohio Northern University’s micromouse team finishes second at regional conference

Apr 22, 2014

The Ohio Northern University College of Engineering micromouse team captured second place at the Region 2 IEEE-Student Activities Conference hosted by Rowan University in New Jersey on April 5. Region 2 covers Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, southern New Jersey, Ohio (except Toledo), Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, and West Virginia.

In a micromouse robotics competition, teams construct an autonomous robotic “mouse” that navigates to the center of a random maze from a specified corner in the shortest amount of time possible.

The four-man ONU team consisted of Brian Beckrest, a junior computer engineering from North Royalton, Ohio; Nick Holtom, a senior electrical engineering major from Westerville, Ohio; Matthew Kostelnik, a junior electrical engineering major from Chardon, Ohio; and Zachery Myers, a junior electrical engineering major from Strongsville Ohio. The faculty adviser for the team is Dr. Khalid Al-Olimat, professor of electrical and computer engineering and chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

“It was an honor to be a part of the ONU’s micromouse team,” Kostelnik said. “I am proud to say that we had the only working algorithm in Region 2. Although we only took second place, our mouse was the only mouse capable of mapping the maze and returning to the center multiple times. Overall, I had a great learning experience and would recommend that students get involved in this competition.”

Beckrest added, “It was a very rewarding experience to be able to apply the knowledge learned here at ONU to a competition outside of the classroom and see success. Being able to say that our group had one of the best robots in all of IEEE Region 2 made the hard work extremely worth it.”

Al-Olimat pointed out that it is in the best interest of the College of Engineering to seize every available opportunity for its students to participate in real-life engineering experiences and to be exposed to system nature of engineering. “Such exposure to and participation in this type of competition provide students the opportunity to expand their college experience beyond the classroom instructions,” he said. “We are always proud of the abilities of our engineering students.”