Ignite Institute Robotics Team Wins 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship


The Ignite Institute robotics team, PiBotics 38141B, won the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship on May 7 in Dallas, TX. Team PiBotics members (pictured above wearing black t-shirts) competed against 818 teams from 40 countries to win the title. Photo courtesy of Beth Koch, May 7, 2022.

Team PiBotics went undefeated in 10 round robin qualifying matches and won the quarter and semi-final matches to advance to the best-of-three division final. They found themselves in another best-of-three final, beating their opponent 224-95 to win the world championship.

The members of the PiBotics team are:

  • Ben Hartline: captain, CAD designer, builder, programmer and driver;
  • Anna Engelmann: engineering and marketing notebook;
  • Daniel Wood: identification and programming; and
  • McKenzie Koch: strategy and influence.

“We are so proud of these students and this incredible achievement,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Education and Chief Learner Jason E. Glass. “These practical skills are a great example of what we continue to build on with our United We Learn vision to provide students with more ways to demonstrate the professional skills they are learning in and out of the classroom.”

The Ignite Institute opened in August 2019 in Erlanger with a focus on project-based learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and providing career opportunities for students as they are still in high school. The school was also created with the needs of Northern Kentucky’s workforce in mind.

“The robotics program started in 2019 when the school opened, but team participation has increased significantly this year.” said Beth Koch, building assessment and robotics coordinator for the Ignite Institute. “Our VEX teams competed in Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Tennessee this year in addition to the world championship in Dallas.”

Students come from eight “home” high schools and 12 middle schools from three districts – Boone County, Kenton County and Walton-Verona Independent – to spend the entire day at Ignite Institute.

While in school, students have access to dual credit college courses while earning their high school diploma. The college’s offerings give them the option of earning an associate’s degree by the time they graduate. The college credits they receive are transferable to all public colleges in the state of Kentucky.

The VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, is the largest and fastest growing middle and high school robotics program in the world. Each year, an exciting engineering challenge is presented as a game. Students, with guidance from their teachers and mentors, build innovative robots and compete throughout the year.

In addition to learning valuable engineering skills, students learn life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management, and critical thinking. The VEX Robotics Competition prepares students to become future innovators, with 95% of participants reporting increased interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects and pursuing STEM-related careers.

The VEX World Robotics Championship brings together the top VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition and VEX U teams from around the world to celebrate their achievements and compete to be crowned champions.

“The PiBotics 38141B has won many tournaments and awards this season including Excellence Award, Robotic Skills Champion, Amaze Award, Design Award and Build Award leading to their outstanding performance in the World Championship “, said Koch.


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