June 25, 2022

Mission Complete: Innovation Challenge @Dahlgren a Strong Win for STEM

From left, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Virginia, and University of Mary Washington’s John Burrow watch as King George high-schoolers Samantha Jones, Susan Randall and Ashton Jones compete in the Innovation Challenge @Dahlgren. Back right are UMW Assistant Professor of Special Education Kevin Good and Dahlgren Campus Director Michael Hubbard. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

From left, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Virginia, and University of Mary Washington’s John Burrow watch as King George high-schoolers Samantha Jones, Susan Randall and Ashton Jones compete in the Innovation Challenge @Dahlgren. Back right are UMW Assistant Professor of Special Education Kevin Good and Dahlgren Campus Director Michael Hubbard. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Keegan Kearl tapped out calculations on his cellphone while Christopher Ashley and Rodrigo Alexander Veliz hunched over a laptop. All three, along with their Spotsylvania High School teammates, were intent on making a robot do their bidding.

The teens were among more than 70 students representing 12 districts – from Richmond to North Stafford, and throughout the Northern Neck – at last weekend’s début Innovation Challenge @Dahlgren, conceived as an annual event. Fredericksburg Christian School took home the top prize – $3,000, a ginormous trophy and a year’s worth of bragging rights – in the two-day robotics-style competition aimed at boosting STEM learning.

“This is an opportunity to show how important these skills and capabilities are,” University of Mary Washington College of Business Lecturer John Burrow told the competitors at the start of the contest, held at UMW’s Dahlgren Campus. “Your goals are important to the nation, the region and the community.” Read more.