A team of Blinn College students was selected from 150 teams to be a part of an engineering showcase at Texas A&M University for a data-tracking and sorting robot they created in just two months.

Sidney Vavra (Lake Jackson), Olivia Conner (Austin), Cole Frazier (Colleyville) and Mikhail Llauder (Mesquite) are all first-year engineering students co-enrolled at both Texas A&M and Blinn.

Affectionately nicknamed Bernardo, their robot was a project for Foundations of Engineering II, a Texas A&M course in which students learn computer applications and programming, solids modeling, the fundamentals of engineering science and advanced graphic skills.

Students were given a basic robot kit and a set of guidelines to build their own robot.

“We were overwhelmed at the beginning,” Vavra said. “We started with the basics and worked out the kinks from there. I was impressed when we saw how well it came together, especially once we got asked to go to the showcase.”

The robot took about 50 hours to build over two months and is designed to organize data such as medical records. It can navigate a maze, locate an object with a unique bar code and place the object in its rightful place. The group hopes to add a Bluetooth feature that will allow the robot to communicate coordinates with other robots.

Of 150 robots, only 12 were selected to compete in the engineering showcase.

“I’m really proud of our teamwork,” Frazier said “The course required a lot of work and patience. It taught us about the design process and gotten us ready to be engineers.”

Blinn and Texas A&M recently expanded their Transfer Enrollment at Texas A&M (TEAM) program, a collaborative partnership that allows students to enroll at both schools, to include specific focus on attracting engineering students with a sub-program termed “TEAM-E.” The new program was launched last Fall and provides an academic pathway for students to successfully transfer from Blinn into Texas A&M’s Dwight Look College of Engineering. Vavra, Conner, Frazier and Llauder are all enrolled in TEAM-E. To learn more about TEAM-E, recently renamed the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn, visit

Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its career and technical certification programs.

Registration is now available for Blinn’s May minimester (May 12-28) as well as the Summer I, Summer II and Fall semesters. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit:  Story and photo courtesy of Blinn College.

Robot story

From left: First-year students Sidney Vavra, Olivia Conner, Cole Frazier and Mikhail Llauder (not pictured) are part of a unique co-enrollment program called TEAM-E that provides an academic pathway for students to successfully transfer from Blinn into Texas A&M’s Dwight Look College of Engineering. They recently built a data-tracking and sorting robot for their Foundations of Engineering II course that was selected to be featured in the Texas A&M engineering showcase.


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