LSU Society of Peer Mentors constructs robot in 3 days

By Libby Haydel

In conjunction with the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Kickoff that took place on Jan. 6 at Patrick F. Taylor Hall, members of LSU’s Society of Peer Mentors built their own robot in just three days to inspire the high school students taking part in the event.

The FRC is held each year, with high school students across the globe competing. They divide into teams, build a robot from the same kit, then compete against other teams in various challenges. This was the first year LSU hosted the kickoff event, allowing high schoolers to mingle, pick up their building kits, and watch the announcement of the FRC theme via livestream.

The LSU SPM team, led by Chair Karl Schulze, took part in the build as part of the Robot in 3 Days Challenge, a national competition created by the founders of iR3 Creative Engineering in Orlando. Because Schulze and his fellow mentors created the robot ahead of time, they were able to go to local high schools to help guide students who were building their own robot as part of FRC.

“Right after the livestream ended, we got started building our robot,” Schulze said.

The mentor team, consisting of eight people with Schulze and Krista Scafidel serving as project managers, began designing their robot immediately after kickoff and worked late into the night.

“We got started around 7 or 8 each morning and didn’t stop until midnight,” Schulze said. “We ended around 3 or 4 a.m. the last night, even though our deadline wasn’t until 10:30 a.m.”

“At that point, everyone is stressed and worried but you have to sit down, take a breather, and figure out what everyone is going to do,” Scafidel said.
Schulze said the experience of building a robot in three days was a challenge, yet “awesome.”

“A lot of us never got to do this in high school, myself included,” he said. “I’m really excited to show off this robot.”

To view the the team’s robot in action, visit