Mission Statement

“The Southeastern Center of Robotics Education serves to inspire and prepare future generations of STEM professionals by developing and delivering student robotics programs, online robotics resources, and professional development for educators.”

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Staff

Tj Nguyen

Tj Nguyen is a robotics education specialist at SCORE. He has degrees in mechanical engineering and secondary science education. He has 12 years of experience in BEST Robotics serving in various roles. As a graduate student, he served as the Director of Online Support for Catapult Engineering Academy, an online distance-learning high school engineering program that teaches students Matlab, LabVIEW, and other engineering skills and programs to prepare them for future careers in STEM fields. He has also developed and taught several robotics camps and professional development training workshops.

Mary Lou Ewald

Mary Lou has been Director of Outreach for the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) since May 2000. Prior to this position, she worked with the Alabama Science in Motion program as the Associate Project Director and physics field specialist. She received a B.S. in Applied Physics and an M.S. in Zoology, both from Auburn University. Mary Lou has served as the Hub Director for Alabama BEST for 16 years, and the South’s BEST Regional Championship for 14 years. She also served on the Board of Directors for the national BEST (Boosting Engineering, science and Technology) Robotics, Inc. program for six years and was the chair of the BEST national awards and judging committee for eight years. She was conference chair of the two national BEST conferences hosted at Auburn University in 2009 and 2011, and was named the BEST national volunteer of the year in 2010. In 2010, Mary Lou was selected as one of 25 STEM educators nationwide to draft standards and criteria for using robotics-based curricula to teach science, a National Science Foundation funded initiative of the Technology Student Association, based in Washington, DC. She is passionate about robotics education as a mechanism to excite kids and inspire them to consider a future career in a STEM field.

Dr. Thad Roppel

Dr. Roppel joined the faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Auburn University in 1986. He has conducted research in the fields of sensor fabrication, sensor fusion, neural networks, search and rescue robotics, and mobile robot design for applications in retail spaces and schools. His work has been supported by NASA, the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Army Research Office, and various corporate and foundation sponsors. He has supervised and graduated more than 40 students at the Masters and PhD level, and has earned multiple awards for undergraduate teaching and mentoring in the College of Engineering. He is a member of the IEEE and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He is the faculty advisor for the SPaRC, the Student Projects and Research Committee, a student-run organization that functions as Auburn University’s Makerspace and he has a passion for using robots for engineering outreach in local communities.

Dr. Allen Landers

Dr. Allen L. Landers holds the Howard Earl and Carolyn Taylor Carr Professorship in the Department of Physics at Auburn University. He is an active researcher and has been featured in the Journal of Physics, Physical Review, Science, and Nature. Dr. Landers teaches at all levels in the Physics Department, ranging from introductory science classes to advanced graduate courses. In addition, he works with interdisciplinary teams of Auburn faculty and staff to pursue science outreach, principally developing new opportunities for K-12 students to experience the scientific process. Dr. Landers has been awarded the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Outreach in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and was recognized with the Auburn University Award for Excellence in Outreach.

Frank Ware

Frank Ware is a robotics education instructor at SCORE. He is a retired middle school science teacher and army retiree. He has taught Lego Robotics and VEX IQ Robotics. He has instructed several workshops for teachers on using robotics in the classroom and in after-school programs.

Jacob Varner

Jacob Varner is a senior studying Software Engineering at Auburn University. He has spent all four years at Auburn working in the College of Sciences and Mathematics Outreach Office helping with various robotics trainings, serving as head scorekeeper for both War Eagle BEST and South's BEST, as well as managing websites and technology for the office. He graduated from the Engineering Academy at Hoover High School where he was able to compete in BEST Robotics as a student and was given a beneficial head start in his engineering education. He will continue working with the Southeastern Center of Robotics Education as he pursues a dual-masters degree at Auburn in Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.

Hunter Terry

Hunter Terry is a student at Auburn University majoring in Aerospace Engineering. He has a passion for robotics from working with VEX robots in PLTW courses and through his four years of participation in BEST Robotics at Fort Payne High School. His interests range from website development and graphic design to space and rocketry.

Nia Perkins

Nia Perkins is currently pursuing her second undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at Auburn. Originally from Georgia, she earned her B.S. in mathematics from Alabama State University. She plans to pursue a career in the robotics industry after graduation.