Students at the University of Dayton are stepping outside of the classroom today for an alternative day of learning. 

For almost 30 years the Stander Symposium has allowed students to showcase their research to other students and faculty. 

More than 350 posters presentations will fill the gym at the university’s Recplex.  

“The Stander Symposium is such an influential academic tradition at UD because it has come to touch nearly all of our undergraduate students, regardless of their majors and their level of sophistication in research and scholarship,” said Provost Paul Benson. 

Other work range from speeches on front porches in the student neighborhood, panel discussions, multimedia displays and a sumo bot tournament featuring 44 robots developed by engineering majors.

Engineering students are putting what they learned in the classroom to the test in this sumo bot challenge. The object keep their robot in the ring and force their opponents out. 

Teams of two are using their brains as the muscle in this competition.  Kate and Alex, both sophomores have been making modifications to their robot named Maurice all semester long. 

“We’ve also added a few things like the rubber bands on the wheels to add more traction when we’re in the ring and weight to be able to push our opponent out,” said Kate Sexton, Sophomore UD student.

These robots are pre-programed by each team on a computer. So when its in the ring – the robot is on its own. 

“I programed it to have a delay for five seconds so as soon as we step away they’ll start spinning. As soon as it senses an object in front of it it’s going to try and push it off the ring,” said Will Medved Sophomore UD student. 

Some battles are quick – while others take a little longer. Teams were able to be creative with the look and function but it had size and weight limitations.  

In this bot battle Alex and Kate’s Maurice didn’t make it past the first round. But Alex still calls it a win. 

“I learned that working with a partner can be helpful and adding a competition to a learning environment is beneficial b/c it pushes you to be more creative. Notice what other people are doing and deviate from what they’re doing so you can have the upper hand,” said Alex Duda, Sophomore UD student. 

“Growing up you may think ugh science class but you really get to apply it and knowing all that stuff can be helpful,” Medved said. 

Robots in a ring – proving science can be cool and fun.