Robofest Advisory Board (This page is under construction)

Main roles of the advisory board are steering the future direction of Robofest, evaluation of the current programs, assessment of students' learning, and approving annual reports.

Paul M. Akangah

Paul Akangah, PhD is a Teaching Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and since 2020, he has been involved with Robofest. However, he has actively been engaged or managed several students’ projects. Some of these are the Mars 2020 Sample Cleaner sponsored by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Hydrogen Fuel Cell propelled vehicle sponsored by Shell Eco-Marathon, among others. He brings a lot of experience to Robofest because of his time at prestigious laboratories such as Brookhaven National Laboratory and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is the faculty responsible for the Fluid Power Club at the North Carolina A&T State University. His research interests are engineering education, advanced composite materials, thermal and structural applications of cellular structures. (2021)

Emma Alaba

Emma Alaba considers herself a wild-card (thinking outside of the box to find the answers), when you take on the responsibility of empowering and educating children – Everything is about RESULTS! Currently, she serves as the Robofest Director, Site Organizer in Florida (2009-present); Organizer and Nielsen Media as Host (Regional/Qualifying Competitions (13 years); Organizer /Host St Pete Beach, FL (4); Organizer /Host Clearwater FL Main Library World Robot Olympiad, (2); Organizer /Hosts: St Pete Beach FL & Nielsen Media Oldsmar FL 2017 Robofest World Championship; Organizer /Host Computer Learning Center, 1st Robofest ONLINE Qualifying Competition in FL. She is the Owner /Director of Computer Learning Center in Clearwater Florida since 1998. Professional Software Trainer teaching Computer Literacy to professionals, adults and students; Robotics Camps (STEM) to middle and high school students since 1996. She received B.A. in Management from the University of South Florida and A.S. in Computer Science from St. Petersburg College. Other educational activities: Board Member Florida Robotics Association, Robotics Alliance at HCC Brandon; programmer, software administer and consultant; varies officer’s positions in Toastmaster International Club; presenter at Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon, Web 2.0, Blended Learning Environments for Robotics (where the Robofest adventure began); presenter at the WISER (World conference on Integrated STEAM Education through Robotics). (2021)

Phil Bigos

As a middle school student I took a mandatory Robotics class and that is where it all started. In 2007 I started to compete in Robofest and participated in the Game and also VCC during my middle school and high school years competing. After Graduating High school I studied Robotic Engineering at Lawerence Tech and received my Bachelors. I then went on to complete an Masters of Business Administration at Kettering University. During the final year of my undergrad I had the privilege of representing the United States in the World Robot Olympiad in Sochi Russia, placing 5th. Though I was not competing in Robofest, as a student, my connection would not end. I started to coach teams for Robofest. And have been coaching since. Currently I work for Ford Motor Company as a Controls Engineering programming Robots and PLCs on the production line to produce axles for the F150, F250, Transit, and Mustang. (2021)

CJ Chung*

CJ (Chan-Jin) Chung is a Professor of Computer Science (CS) at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) . He was a Senior Research Scientist at Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) before coming to the USA for his PhD study at Wayne State University. He founded Robofest in 1999 and launched numerous STEM+CS programs such RoboParade, Fashion & Dance Show that became RoboArts, and Vision Centric Challenge. He has been a faculty advisor of LTU’s IGVC (Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition) teams since 2003. His team won 1st place award in 2007 and Grand LESCOE Cup in 2016. His other robotics team was selected to represent the USA to compete at RoboCup Four-legged robot soccer division in 2007. He served as the founding USA National Organizer for the World Robot Olympiad in 2014 & 2015. Currently, he is the Principal Investigator of ACTor (Autonomous Campus Transport) project using two by-wire vehicles. The ACTor team won the IGVC Self-Drive competition in 2017, 18, and 19.  In 2011, IEEE honored Dr. Chung with its citation of honor award for his leadership in STEM education. (2021)


Gavin Coleman is an ESE and STEM teacher in Hillsborough County, Florida. He instructs students in the local community in engineering and robotics and helps to organize community events. Dr. Coleman has been involved in Robofest as a coach since 2016 and has been organizing Robofest competitions in Florida for the past 4 years. He specializes in ensuring that all students have access to STEM education and learning how to develop creative solutions to various problems. Gavin is a positive force in the schools that he works with, helping other teachers create hands-on activities and projects to motivate and encourage students to become learners for life. He has been honored with the Charter ESE
Teacher of the year award in 2020 and with the ESE Educator of the Year award in 2013 in Osceola County, Florida. Dr. Coleman received his Doctorate degree in STEM Education and Specialist’s degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University, his master’s degree in special education from West Virginia University, and his bachelor’s degree in computer information technology from Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Coleman has helped create several new engineering and robotics programs within charter schools in Hillsborough County and surrounding areas.. (updatd 2023)

Scott Eisele

Earned a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and Master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, both in the field of Industrial Arts Education. Taught in several school districts in Michigan, retiring in 2020 from the East China School District after 40 years of teaching. Subjects included areas of industrial arts especially drafting, metal working, wood working, and power mechanics transitioning to technology education in the late 1980’s and most recently certified as a PLTW Engineering teacher and Middle School STEM teacher. Started the first and only robotics team in St. Clair County in 2002 and participated in the FIRST Lego League and Robofest at the middle and high school levels. The initial Robofest competition was one team with two students and has grown to over twelve teams with over 30 students. Not being able to participate in 2020 due to the Covid related school shutdown, we hope to continue the St. Clair robotics team tradition in the coming years. (2021)

Linda Pence

46 year teaching experience. 43 years as Lower and Middle School Science teacher at The Roeper School including 30 years of administrative responsibilities. Initiated and taught Robotics program for 19 years at Roeper. 2 years coach Roeper Lego League teams, 17 years coach Roeper Robofest  Teams, 2018 host for Robofest Qualifying Competition. (2021)

Josh Siegel

Josh Siegel is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, the Principal Investigator of the DeepTech Lab, and the lead instructor for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Internet of Things, DeepTech and ToughTech Bootcamps. He received Ph.D., S.M. and S.B. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Josh and his automotive companies have been recognized with accolades including the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize and the MassIT Government Innovation Prize. He has multiple issued patents, published in top scholarly venues, and been featured in popular media. Dr. Siegel’s ongoing research develops architectures for secure and efficient connectivity, applications for pervasive sensing, and new approaches to autonomous driving. He became interested in software development and robotics systems through his participation in Robofest, starting in 2001 and continuing through 2007. (2021)

Gordon Stein

Gordon Stein is a Ph.D. student in Vanderbilt University’s Computer Science program. He previously taught as a lecturer at Lawrence Technological University, where he worked to improve the way CS courses were taught and to create new opportunities for students by offering courses on emerging technologies. Gordon now performs research involving robotics and mixed reality for STEAM education through the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt. Gordon first participated in Robofest in 2007 when in middle school. (2021)

Maurice Tedder

Maurice Tedder has been involved in Robofest since 2003 as a judge and coach. He received his MS in Computer Science from Lawrence Technological University and a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati (UC) and AS in Aviation Maintenance Technology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is also a founding member of the LTU Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition Team. He is currently working in STEM education and developing an open source online robotics gaming/AI platform. He also teaches a free monthly Introduction to AI &
Machine Learning workshop and has been developing robotics prototypes, POC hardware and software for over 18 years. (2021)

(*) Board Chairperson

© 2024 Robofest