UT’s Team YNOT is currently ranked second in the world in the 2019 Vex U Competitive Robotics Program’s autonomous-programming and driver-skills standings. The team’s mission is not just competition, but also to mentor younger teams in the Knoxville area. Their work includes creating an alliance of middle and high school teams coached by YNOT members.
The impact of this collaboration was recognized and praised by judges at the 2018 Vex Robotics World Championship. At this event, Team YNOT received the prestigious Community Award, presented to the university-level team that demonstrated the most meaningful leadership and influence toward promoting STEM education in their local community.
Team founder Grant Kobes is a sophomore honors engineering student studying industrial engineering and minoring in leadership studies. He created a strategic leadership plan for YNOT as a member of last year’s inaugural class of students in the university’s Honors Leadership Program.
Kobes’s goal is to use competitive robotics to recruit the most talented high school students from the Knoxville area to the college in the coming years. His work continues in 2019 as Team YNOT travels across the state to mentor young teams as far away as Mountain City and to serve as judges and referees at middle and high school Vex competitions.
“Walking into a classroom filled with middle school kids wearing Tennessee t-shirts is so inspiring,” said Kobes, “These students see that the work they are doing now can lead to an exciting future in competitive robotics at UT while they pursue degrees in engineering.”
Team YNOT members include Kobes; Clare Remy, a double major in anthropology and biochemistry/molecular biology; chemical engineering major Westena Anderson and Craig Wiley; and mechanical engineering majors Buddy Swan and Chris Cannon.
Officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the largest robotics competition on earth, the VEX Robotics World Championship is a week-long competitive robotics event featuring more than 1,400 of the best VEX Competition teams, leading technology companies, and experts in the field.