Wood County Tech Center receives grant to start another robotics team



Parkersburg Catholic junior Paul Teltscher is one of the few remaining original members of the FIRST robotics team. He said he was recruited by a friend to join us, and for the first year he was able to get his feet wet exploring mechanical engineering as a possible future career path.

Teltscher says the program not only helped him explore robotics, but also taught him leadership and team building skills that could help him later in his future career.

“It means a lot to have someone who I can relate to or a group of people with whom I can relate to, or a common goal to work towards, even if it’s just about building relationships. robots. In my future career, I hope to have bigger goals “

Teltscher is even currently taking a programming course at West Virginia University-Parkersburg, as the club opened his eyes to a passion for programming.

Instructor Jared Voldness teaches pre-engineering and computer science at Wood County Technical Center. He and his colleague Amy Stewart created the FIRST Robotics Team after the fall of the original Vex Robotics Team. They waited until there seemed to be more interest before bringing the Vex team back again.

After Voldness wrote the grant and submitted it, they were awarded $ 4,500 which would provide enough funds to revive the Vex team and purchase new equipment as theirs is outdated.

Voldness said he hopes the grant will also help recruit more students in Wood County to join their team. Some of the teams the club faces have around 50 people. There are about fifteen in the team at the moment. He said the small number of students involved puts a lot of hard work on their shoulders. With more team members it could make the workload easier for everyone, and maybe also get a better product to show in future competitions.

Voldness sees the club as something to gain greater recognition from students in something they normally wouldn’t do. He said that in the past his students had received national scholarships for their work in robotics.

“The goal of this club is to start using more STEM skills for students who probably wouldn’t have them otherwise,” Voldness said.

Voldness said one of the coolest projects they’ve done over the past year is to start making face masks and face shields to distribute to the community.

Teltscher discussed another project the team is currently working on. This is an intake system for the feed cells that the robot would absorb and eventually pull back. He said they haven’t started on the firing system yet, but the absorption system is the biggest project he’s taken on so far, and he’s excited about how far it has come.

Due to the pandemic, competitions have become home robotics according to Voldness. Basically your robot was competing against itself trying to accomplish different tasks. Teltscher lacks pleasure in watching other robots compete against each other, or achieve their goals, or even run into problems. It was a lot of fun to watch.

Teltscher loves the friends he has made through the club, whether it’s traveling to competitions or going out on weekends.

“I’m not on the football team, I’m usually not a cool boy, but he’s my group of people. It’s who I can really talk to, have conversations about calculus or physics or whatever and I really enjoy spending time with people.

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