Bemidji State robotics team captures Design Award at VEX Competition

The Beaver Bots, a team of students from Bemidji State University’s Department of Technology, Art and Design, robotics team, won the Design Award at the VEX U Regional Qualifier Competition, January 30 in St. Cloud, Minn., after competing against seven other teams.

Teams competing in the competition built two robots, and the Design Award is given to the team with the strongest engineering notebook—a clear, complete document of the team’s design process. Dr. Michael Lund, assistant professor of technology, art and design and team coach, said that the 3D CAD files Beaver Bots included for both of its robots helped the team’s notebook stand out among the competition.

The nine-member Beaver Bots team includes students from an automation technology class, and others who were interested in being a part of a robotics team. John Siebenaler and Luke Rehbein return from last year’s team, and Lund credited their experience to the success of this year’s squad.

“It’s great that college students have this opportunity to apply the science, technology, engineering and math skills they have learned in the classroom in a fun, competitive challenge,” Lund said. “I’m proud of the team’s success.”

Other members of the Beaver Bots team, which was supported in part by the 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence, included Mitch Janousek, Hayden Roelofs, Brandon Schindler, Jeramie Blegen, Tyler Johnson, Tucker Arenz and Brittany Reed.

The SCSU VEX U Regional Qualifier Competition, hosted by St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College, was part of a weekend of VEX Robotics tournaments led by SCTC as part of the college’s work with the 360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence.

Bemidji |56601| Tyler Johnson, junior; project management
Arco |56113| Jeramie Blegen, junior; engineering technology
Big Lake |55309| Mitchel Janousek, junior; engineering technology
Glyndon |56547| Hayden Roelofs, senior; engineering technology
Hastings |55033| John Siebenaler, junior; applied engineering, technology management
Leonard |56652| Brittany Reed, junior; applied engineering
Orono |55356| Luke Rehbein, junior; applied engineering
Richmond |56368| Brandon Schindler, sophomore; engineering technology, industrial technology
Wyoming |55092| Tucker Arenz, senior; project management

About 360
360 Manufacturing Center of Excellence is a consortium of 15 institutions led by Bemidji State University and includes 14 technical and community colleges, including Northwest Technical College. 360 is designing a 21st Century education system that prepares individuals to have rewarding careers in manufacturing and meets the dynamic, evolving needs of the region’s manufacturing employers through an enhanced pipeline, industry-driven curriculum, and authentic assessment. 360 is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and received a National Science Foundation grant in 2012 to become an Advanced Technological Education Regional Center. To learn more, visit

About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, supports robotics and technology events and programs that aim to inspire and motivate students to advance in STEM education. In addition to operating and supporting competitions for some of the world’s leading robotics platforms and organizations including VEX, TSA and BEST Robotics Competitions, the foundation also provides program support and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators – including the community portal website which helps promote multiple high quality programs and provides online registration and event pages for hundreds of events around the world.

Bemidji State University, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling nearly 5,000 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. University signature themes include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and global and multi-cultural understanding.