Guests socialize at the 2014 second annual NUAMES robotics fundraising dinner. (The Signpost/ Lichelle Jenkins)
Guests socialize at the second annual NUAMES Robotics Fundraising dinner. The dinner featured NUAMES’ two robotics clubs, First Robotics and VEX Robotics. (The Signpost/ Lichelle Jenkins)

The Weber State Davis campus was abuzz with activity this past Wednesday evening. An aroma of fresh food floated in the air, and robots swerved around at the command of their drivers.

The Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science (NUAMES), an early college high school that holds a partnership with Weber State University, held their second annual Robotics Fundraising Dinner in the D3 Ballroom.

The purpose of the event was to help spread the word about the robotics organizations and raise money to fund the program.

NUAMES robotics members sold $25 seats to family, friends and local businesses willing to support their cause. All 30 tables were reserved.

“The program here at NUAMES takes about $20,000 dollars a year to run,” estimated Bryan Rudes, a robotics teacher and mentor who took a key role in organizing the event.

Income from the dinner and silent auction  will be split between the two robotics clubs at NUAMES: First Robotics and VEX Robotics.

First Robotics is a larger team effort, with all members focused on building one robot in a period of six weeks. They then proceed to compete with teams across the world.

Paige Lewis, the First Robotics safety captain, holds the job of organizing the workshop, keeping her team members safe and confirming the robot meets safety requirements.

“I’m really passionate about robotics,” Lewis said. “I’m always thinking about how I can help the team be better.”

VEX Robotics consists of competitions which span from August to April of every year. VEX teams are smaller than those in First

A previous year's robot was put on display and guests were allowed to drive it. (The Signpost/Lichelle Jenkins)
A previous year’s robot was put on display and guests were allowed to drive it. (The Signpost/Lichelle Jenkins)

Robotics; they consist of only three to seven members each. NUAMES currently has 80 VEX teams.

In a welcoming speech to the dinner attendees, Rudes highlighted the expansion of the robotics teams throughout the years.

“We started this at NUAMES with about 15 people in the program altogether. Today you’re looking at about 70 students that are participating in robotics after school,” he said.

As many of those 70 members as could make it dressed up for the dinner and helped out in various areas. Kids assisted in cleaning, prepping food in the kitchen, serving guests and bussing dirty dishes.

Dinner attendees were served a family-style spaghetti dinner, which also included rolls, salad and bread pudding provided by local businesses Wilcox Farms and MacCool’s.

“(The dinner) was a lot more structured than I had imagined,” said Cynthia Bull. Bull attended the event after hearing about it through her daughter, a member of the team.

“The food was good and the service was great,” said Thomas Evans, a guest at the dinner.

Overall, the students and planners of the event considered it to be successful.

“(Our goal) was to make everybody happy. We wanted to raise money so we could make another robot. And we had fun in the process,” said Braden Bell, a First Robotics member.

Although the funding from the dinner helped build their budget, the NUAMES robotics team is still looking for donations. Contact for more information.

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