Being a member of the Wildcats Robotics team is about more than cool technology and competing against other robots for Logan Ince and the rest of the team. Technical abilities contributed to, but were not the sole deciding factor in Ince’s selection as a finalist for the FIRST Robotic’s Dean’s List and the team’s Engineering Inspiration Award.
“It recognizes people who are the best specimen of what FIRST Robotics is trying to develop,” club facilitator Che Edoga said of the dean’s list distinction. “So people that promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in their community, people who are leaders in their community, those are the sorts of things that they’re looking for.”
When his name was announced, Ince said he thought about the help he’s received on his projects from his teammates throughout the years.
“I felt very proud of the work that I’ve gotten to do with this team,” he said.
Ince, a junior, has mentored the FIRST Lego League, which is Lego robotic league for elementary and middle school students, for three years. He created quieter, more durable fidget tools for students with ADHD and autism spectrum disorder in special education classes. He helped improve animatronic deer technology for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Recently, he was the driving force behind the team’s Micro-Home competition that sought designs to combat homelessness.
“Really this is something that I wanted for Logan, because it is something I think he’s incredibly deserving of,” Edoga said. “… He’s a pretty phenomenal young man, and we have a lot of phenomenal young people on our team, but even in that he’s outstanding.”
The whole team of phenomenal young people was recognized recently at the district competition in Mount Vernon with the Engineering Inspiration Award. The award highlights efforts in advancing appreciation for engineering within the team’s school and community. This award qualifies the Wildcats for the World Championships Event in Houston.
Although the team’s robot didn’t qualify for the competition, district Judges instead evaluated the team’s haptic hats created to help blind students, prosthetic fingers, scrapbooks documenting the time spent building ADA-compliant ramps in the community and even the entire Micro Home the team built.
“It’s probably the most enjoyable competition I’ve ever been to,” Ince said with a laugh.
Ince and the team, with their robot this time, will compete at the world championship in Houston April 18 to 21 against students from different countries.
“I have gotten lots and lots of exuberant hugs from people who did not think that they would get to go back to the world championship because they’re seniors,” Ince said.
In Houston, Ince will be recognized at a luncheon with other finalists as well as get the opportunity to meet representatives from universities like Yale and MIT. There, six people will be chosen as Dean’s List winners.
A spaghetti dinner will be held from 6-8 p.m., Saturday at the Oak Harbor Lutheran Church to raise money to send the team to Texas. There is also a GoFundMe for the team.