The Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, or SCORE, is an Auburn University outreach initiative designed to more effectively develop and deliver robotics education to K-12 students and teachers. The SCORE program centralizes the robotics education activities already underway in Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics, College of Engineering and Auburn University Aviation Center, and provides a mechanism for growth in the area of robotics education outreach. The SCORE initiative is the only center of its kind in the country.

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.”

Office Staff

Jennifer Spencer

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Jennifer Spencer is the Assistant Director of SCORE. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Elementary Education, both from Auburn University. Jennifer has 20 years of teaching experience in public and private schools in Alabama where she also coached after-school robotics clubs. After leading one of the first SCORE-sponsored teams to the state championship in 2018, she joined our team to help build robotics in schools throughout the southeast. She is the self-proclaimed mom of the group and loves her family and all Auburn sports.

Mary Lou Ewald

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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.

Nia Perkins

Nia has graduated with her second degree in electrical engineering from 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.

Student Employees

Joseph Ammons

Joseph is a student program assistant at SCORE. Joseph is a sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering at Auburn university.

Tre Knight

Tre is currently a senior majoring in Mathematics at Auburn University. He has been involved in robotics since the 7th grade with BEST Robotics. Tre has dreams and aspirations of working in the education field after finishing his bachelor’s degree where he hopes to incorporate robotics into his classroom. Tre is a student robotics program assistant at SCORE.

DJ Smith

DJ is a sophomore at Auburn University where she is studying Industrial Engineering. DJ is the founder of the Robotics Outreach Student Organization and a member of the Auburn’s VEX U Robotics Team. DJ’s dream job upon graduation is working as a roller coaster engineer. DJ enjoys watching scary movies in her free time and hanging out with friends.

Cole Spencer

Cole is a student program assistant at SCORE. He is a freshman at Auburn majoring in Software Engineering. Cole is a member of the Robotics Outreach Student Organization and Auburn’s VEX U Robotics Team. In his free time, Cole enjoys entertaining others from the stage in theatrical performances, singing, and playing the piano.

Hunter Terry

Hunter is a student at Auburn University majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Hunter has played a vital role in numerous SCORE programs ranging from camps and workshops to competitions such as BEST Robotics and VEX Robotics since he joined in 2016. Hunter the president of a Robotics Outreach Student Organization and is a member of Auburn's VEX U Robotics team. Hunter hopes to continue his education at Auburn University and pursue a career in the Aerospace Engineer while remaining involved in outreach programs similar to SCORE throughout his career.

Omar Zuaiter

Omar joined SCORE in March 2019 as a student robotics program assistant. Omar graduated from Oak Mountain High School where he participated in VEX robotics. He is a junior double majoring in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering. Omar is a member of the Robotics Outreach Student Organization and founder of Auburn’s VEX U Robotics Team. Omar’s dream job is a robotics engineer.

Faculty Sponsors

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.

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.