Wednesday, June 20, 2012

RoMeLa’s team includes three brothers

Counterclock-wise, Stephen, Will and Nick McGill
Being part of the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory team at RoboCup can form some tight-bonding among the student members. But this year’s team included three brothers, ages 24, 22 and 21, from Broomall, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. The trio, Stephen, William, and Nick McGill are all engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech’s partner in the RoboCup competition for Kid-Size and Teen-Sized robots. (UPenn also teamed with Virginia Tech in 2011, when RoMeLA dominated the contest. Virginia Tech enters CHARLI in the Adult-Size league on its own.) 

How did three brothers all get into the same major at the same university? “Legos,” says Will, not missing a beat. (One gets the sense the brothers have been asked this question ad nauseam. And Will confirms this.) “I don’t know, we just kind of did it. Our parents encouraged us in science and math, and we did that, and we did robotics in high school.” 

Stephen is the veteran RoboCup member of the trio, starting in 2010 in Vienna, Austria. In 2011, Nick joined Stephen in Istanbul, Turkey. Will joined the group this year. Studies wise, Will just finished his master’s, while Nick is pursuing his own master’s degree, and Stephen is in the middle of earning a doctoral degree. 

No plans exist now for the brothers to form a company, but the idea is in the open. Possible proof that Legos are a vital and amazing investment in one’s children’s education. 

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