By Will Ranos/Sports Editor
Ten students on the LBCC student robotics team will head to Newfoundland, Canada, from June 25-27 to compete in the International Underwater Robotics Competition organized by the Marine Advanced Technical Education Center.
The team of 10 students consists of Ryan Bellaver, Mario Bermudez, Marshall Dickey, Aaron Durst, Israel Hilario-Perez, Dustin Ingagiola, Andrew Lakso, Scott Precop, Raymond Thompson and Elmer Ventura.
The team, VX Industries, will be challenging 35 other college teams from around the world after qualifying in a regional match May 9. The students are also the only school representing Southern California in the event.
When talking about what has been the toughest aspect about the process, CEO and team captain Marshall Dickey, 27 and an electrical technology major, said, “Keeping people motivated while still maintaining their day-to-day lives. For a lot of our team members, school is a priority and for those with work it can be pushing their limits to come in and dedicate 10 to 20 hours outside of class.”
Scott Fraser, LBCC electrical program professor and adviser for the underwater robotic team, said, “It is exciting to see students take what they learn in the Electrical Program, apply it to the underwater robots and succeed. It has been a blast. It is very exciting to see students challenged to come up with new ideas. The range of solutions to problems posed is always amazing.”
Having been the adviser for the team since 2004, Fraser said, “The confirmation of success is not so much the competition, but with industry coming to LBCC to hire our students. We had three past students working with Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in 2010 to plug up the BP oil spill.
“We have students working on the Research Vessel Nautilus, which is run by Dr. Robert Ballard who discovered the Titanic. In addition, we have students working all over the world working with ROVs including at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.”
VX Industries is seeking donations and sponsorships to help raise $15,000 for airfare and lodging. Potential donors may contact the LBCC Foundation at (562) 938-4137.