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Evangel graduates produce “417 Robotics” competition

Published on Apr 30, 2016 by Paul K. Logsdon

Current EU student wrote the robotics course curriculum

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Robotic programs and competitions have been developing in cities all across the U.S. Two Evangel University graduates have started 417 Robotics, with Roboticz Inc., and have developed the first “raw material” robotics competition in the region.

On Saturday, April 30, their hard work was put to the test at a Robotics Challenge held at the Library Center on South Campbell.

The competition ran from 10 a.m. to noon, and several teams competed through a blind maze and other challenges.

2016-04.30-a 417 Robotics class
EU senior Daniel Douglas helps a team of middle school students test and calibrate their robot. Also shown are Tristian Fisher, 12, and Grant McCormack, 14. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Aimee (Wubbena ’00) Gerla, a business education graduate of Evangel University, founded 417 Robotics with her sister-in-law Ashley (Stutzman ’97) Wubbena, an accounting graduate.

“During the 417 Robotics program, teams of middle school students have learned to design, create and program robots,” said Gerla. “Throughout the course, area engineers and enthusiasts have taught our students the skills to build and program their innovative machines.”

One of those enthusiasts is Daniel Douglas, a senior at Evangel where he is earning a degree in applied math and physics. Douglas wrote the curriculum for the 16-week robotics course designed for middle school students.

“We know that this program will prepare and inspire the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) innovators,” said Gerla. “There’s nothing like this — it is affordable and easy for groups to join.”

The robotics classes met on Tuesday and Thursday evenings since January, and this first year, the focus has been on 5th to 8th grade students. According to Gerla, it will expand all the way through high school in the next year.

2016-04.30-e Crawford robot
EU grads Michael ’00 and Shonna (Penners ’00) Crawford celebrate a win with their son Gavin, 12, and daughter Aubree, 9. Dr. Shonna Crawford serves as an assistant professor of education at Evangel. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“We are evolving the program for the Fall,” added Wubbena. “We are providing curriculum and materials to schools, organizations and churches, and we anticipate several will form clubs to participate in our future competitions.”

Another part of the evolution is a name change to Techstone Robotics, to allow for future growth outside of Southwest Missouri.

Teachers and parents interested in sponsoring a club can contact Aimee Gerla at, 417-693-5203 or


PHOTOS BY: Paul K. Logsdon