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Focus on Student Life

Focus on Student Life

Fall 2009

Rock On!

Two talented students build a robot that conquered a popular video game—while enhancing their resumes.
 

When Mike Teigen and Chee Lor decided on an ambitious final project of creating a robot that could play the popular “Guitar Hero” video game, their instructor, Jon Stenerson, wasn’t at all concerned. Both Teigen and Lor had excelled in Fox Valley Technical College’s Automated Manufacturing Systems program; the project was simply an opportunity to put what they’d learned to the test. 

The idea came to them, Lor says, as they searched the Internet for ideas. They found some videos of automatic “Guitar Hero” programs where “little computer bots” seemingly played the game by using software to monitor the game’s source code. “We decided to make a robot that didn’t cheat by using this method,” Lor notes. “We wanted to create one that utilized a vision system to simulate how a human plays the game.” 

As they worked, Lor and Teigen filled three composition books with sketches before creating a design that relied on an integrated vision system and programmable logic controller. The system could “watch” the screen as a human would. “We built everything from scratch,” Teigen recalls. “We never did anything like that before, so closer to the end we started using cardboard to make models, as well as CAD drawings. This way we made sure everything would fit before we cut the metal and put it together.” 

Once they created the long list of needed parts, Stenerson helped the students contact local businesses to secure donated items. For example, one area manufacturer of control and automation systems provided a vision system at a significant discount. The company also sent technicians to campus to run demonstrations of the vision system, which is very industrial in nature. The same system and controls could be used to inspect parts moving along a conveyor.

Once completed, the project generated some national media attention, including coverage in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. 

 

 

Making the Transition

The new Older Wiser Learners group helps displaced workers adjust to college.

Kathy LeClair remembers clearly how she felt last January when the spring semester started and she found herself sitting in a classroom for the first time in years. After asking around a bit, she learned that other students who had recently lost their jobs felt the same way. “We were wondering if we could do it,” she recalls. “We didn’t know how to study. We knew the college had great resources, but we didn’t know what to do or where to go.” 

LeClair, who lost her job in September 2008, thought displaced workers needed a group on campus to offer help for one another. So they approached Vicky Barke, Fox Valley Technical College’s director of Student Life. Barke helped the students develop ideas, and the Older Wiser Learners (OWLs) group held its first meeting in May. “The meeting topics vary,” says Barke, noting that June’s event on managing finances drew more than 90 people. “But we consistently have about 40 people at every meeting.”

Other topics have included time and stress management, technology, and financial aid. OWLs members are now brainstorming future meeting topics and mulling over other services, such as tutoring, that they can offer as the group grows. LeClair already feels more relaxed in her new role as a student, and as chairperson of the OWLs group. “I think a lot of other displaced workers are feeling the same way, too. We’re all in the same boat, so it’s good to know you’re not on an island by yourself.”

 

 

 

 

First Place at National IT Competition

Members of Fox Valley Technical College’s student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) earned first place at the organization’s national conference in Oklahoma City.

The winning team won top honors in the Graphic Communications category by creating a print and Web advertising campaign, including an overall brand design and message. The first-place entry competed against 15 other teams, including the likes of Purdue University and the University of Texas-Arlington.

Members of FVTC's first-place team include Thomas Willecke, Michael Sweigart, and Liudmila Vakulenko, under the leadership of club advisor and IT instructor Brenda Wilz.

More than 600 participants representing colleges and universities throughout the United States competed in several categories.

 

 

 

 


“I think this project will get high school students excited about automated systems,” says Teigen, who recently accepted a position with the FBI. “You can go anywhere with this degree.”

 

 

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Spring 2019 Focus Magazine

COLLEGE OF CHOICE: Families want affordable and marketable education

Read the latest issue of Focus magazine, with features highlighting students, alumni & employers in Criminal Justice, Machine Tool Technology, Business and much more.

Spring 2019 Focus Magazine

Upcoming Events

25 May 2019

College Closed for Memorial Day

May 25-27

College Closed for Memorial Day

Fox Valley Technical College will be closed in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. 

1 Jun 2019

Free Legal Assistance Clinic

9 a.m.-Noon | Appleton Campus

Free Legal Assistance Clinic

Need help with a legal issue? Attend our free legal assistance clinic, offered by the FVTC Paralegal Student Organization. Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m.-Noon

3 Jun 2019

12 Jun 2019

Explore Starting a Business, Appleton

5:30-8:30 p.m. | D.J. Bordini Center

Explore Starting a Business, Appleton

Wednesday, June 12 | This complimentary session provides an inside look at what it takes to launch a small business.

12 Jun 2019

High School Completion Ceremony

7-9 p.m. | Appleton Campus Commons

High School Completion Ceremony

For students who have earned their GED, HSED or Adult High School credentials. | Wednesday, June 12, 7-9 p.m.

18 Jun 2019

Culinary Arts Scholarship Golf Scramble

High Cliff Golf Course

Culinary Arts Scholarship Golf Scramble

Culinary Arts Scholarship Scramble | Tuesday, June 18, High Cliff Golf Course, Sherwood