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USM Robotics Team Successful at Regional Competition held in Atlanta

Wed, 04/17/2024 - 10:28am | By: David Tisdale

USM Robotics

Student members of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) chapter of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers’ (IEEE) Robotics Team turned in the best performance of any school from the Magnolia state in the main hardware (robotics) competition at the IEEE’s SoutheastCon 2024 Region 3, held in March in Atlanta, Ga. USM finished 10th out of 52 institutions participating from the region.

USM’s three robots are named after the city of Hattiesburg founder Capt. William Hardy’s three daughters - Adeline, Mamie, and Corrine. Mamie was the main prototyping robot to try out new features, Adeline eventually was the competition robot, and Corrine was an early prototype for navigating the field. For this year’s competition, part of the hardware scoring points included promotional design and robot design elements.

Dr. Anna Wan, associate professor of mathematics education and founder and director of USM’s Eagle Maker Hub, serves as advisor to the group. Team members include Zachary Bennett, captain; Enoc Lopez, co-captain; Dallin Blanks; Rashika Karmacharya; Ella Morrison; Muhammad Sabih Ul Hussnain; and Kritika Upadhyay. Community support for the team includes that of Stephen Jordan, advising on Arduino (open-source electronics platform) and hardware advisement; USM’s Eagle Maker Hub; and Premier Homes.

USM Robotics


Dr. Wan lauded the team, composed of students from varied disciplines – including computer science and engineering, graphic design and elementary education – for their diligent work on the robots for the past six months in advance of the competition, and then even more intensely in the days leading up to SoutheastCon.

*Karmacharya, a computer science major from, Kathmandu, Nepal, said Southeastcon 2024 was “one of the most exciting and fruitful events I’ve experienced since I came to the U.S.” further noting “I got to meet wonderful people and see amazing designs and even better ideas. The best part, however, was being able to navigate through issues as a strong team.”

*Lopez, a computer science major from Southaven, Miss, said the team pushed at SoutheastCon 2024 to “not just succeed, but start a legacy for future students at USM,”

“I am incredibly thankful to our advisor Dr. Wan and Coach Jordan for paving our way to make that happen.”

*Morrison, an anthropology major from Mobile, Ala. and Ul Hussnain, a computer science major from Islamabad, Pakistan, both said the competition was intense but enjoyable and engaging in the overall process, describing it as equally “intense, interesting and fun.”

*Upadhyay, a computer science major and business administration minor from Bharatpur, Nepal, said preparing for and participating in SoutheastCon helped her better understand and appreciate the importance of teamwork and time management. “I got to know and bond with the team better and am more prepared and motivated to do well for next year's competition.”

*Blanks, a graphic design major from Natchez, Miss. who was unable to attend the competition but played a key role in helping the team to is ultimate successes, said for the design element of the competition he had to keep in mind three brands - IEEE SoutheastCon, USM, and the ACM-IEEE Robotics Club.


“In what way could I design an aesthetic that was authentic to each brand without visually overstimulating the audience?” Blanks reflected. “Hypothetically, could such a design actually be practical for print and wear? Ultimately, I feel it still needs a bit of rework, but I was more than happy to be a part of the team — and to be at Southeastcon in spirit.”

*Bennett, a computer engineering major from Hattiesburg, was inspired by his teammates through the competition, frequently joking that a movie should be made about them.

“It’s a cheesy comparison, but the events that transpired truly fit the format of an inspirational movie,” Bennett said. “This team is comprised of students of several different backgrounds, skill sets, and learning focuses, contributed their own ideas and with the magic of teamwork guided solutions [for competition] into a physical product, accomplished the goals we’d hoped it would.

“As I watched my teammates’ excitement from our numerous successes in competition with other universities, I realized exactly how well we were doing and from this, I got a little emotional, thinking ‘This is it. We are here. We are The University of Southern Mississippi.’”

The USM Robotics Team welcomes the opportunity to mentor high school students interested in participating in the IEEE’s 2025 competition in Charlotte, N.C., as part of an open team. For information, contact Dr. Wan.