Special Ops Club to Compete in Mini Urban Challenge

Update: The Special Ops Club placed third in the Mini-Urban Challenge on Saturday, March 5. Congratulations!

First Look: The Special Ops Club is preparing to compete in the Doolittle Institute's annual Mini-Urban Challenge at Wright State's Nutter Center on Saturday, March 5. 

The competition challenges high school students to design and program a LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotic vehicle to navigate through a mini-urban city constructed of large foam floor tiles all through computer programming.  An engineering notebook and oral presentation with PowerPoint are also scored competition elements.

"Three alumni from across generations, John Grismer '70, Matt Mize  '98 and Steven Jennison '12 were very generous with their time, talent and treasure, to make this possible," said CJ STEMM Coordinator Meg Draeger.

"A group of us from CJ participated in this challenge in 2012 and it's funny because I see the group doing a lot of the same things I did," noted Jennison. 

There are five regional Mini-Urban Challenge competitions around the U.S., with the local Dayton competition primarily sponsored and facilitated by the Air Force Research Laboratory. CJ is one of six teams competing in the local competition. The first and second place winning teams from each regional competition will be eligible to compete in the national competition in Florida in May.

"It would be great if we could go to nationals," said Special Ops Club member Michael Zopff '17.

This will be the fourth year a CJ team has participated in the Mini-Urban Challenge.  Teamwork is critical in order to prepare for the competition.  Students participating this year are Marc Guiselin '17, Alex Jennison '16, Aaron Meixner '19, Regan Monigan '19, Cameron Woodard '16, and Zopff.  The students came to the Spec Ops Club with varying levels of prior computer programming knowledge, and have learned a lot throughout the year.

The Spec Ops Club meets in the engineering lab, the St. Barbara room 235, Thursdays after school.  Other activities of the club include events during annual Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code in December.  All CJ students are encouraged to attend the Mini-Urban Challenge on Saturday, March 5 to cheer our team on. To see what the Special Ops Club is all about, join the group on a Thursday after school in the engineering lab beginning March 10.

Contributing Writer: Meg Draeger