Westminster College Professor of Computer Science and Alumnus Participated in Robot Competition

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Dr. David Shaffer, Westminster College associate professor of computer science, served as adviser to Mercer Area High School students during the Trinity College Firefighting Home Robot competition April 6-7 in Hartford, Conn.

Student participants were Ryan Hamilton, Adam Hoge, Benjamin Shaffer, and Rebecca Shaffer. The group programmed their robot, Mildred, to autonomously navigate through a mock home, find a candle, extinguish it and return to her starting location.  Their robot was the top U.S. robot in the high school "unique robot" division, placing second among high school team robots from schools in the U.S., China, Portugal, Israel, and Indonesia. 

To view the video of Mercer High School team's presentation click here.

This project was funded by the Westminster College Math and Computer Science Department and the Drinko Center for Experiential Learning, which was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.

Alumnus Tim Matyas `12 traveled with the group and participated in the competition with his own robot.

Shaffer, who has been with Westminster since 2000, earned an undergraduate degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Contact Shaffer at (724) 946-7292 or email for additional information. 

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 377 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

Click image to enlarge.

The Mercer Area High School team: (l-r) Ryan Hamilton, Adam Hoge, "Mildred" the robot, Benjamin Shaffer, and Rebecca Shaffer.