Dr. John Wright (right) with students from MU’s Robotics Team. SAMSON is pictured in the foreground. Graduating team members are: Gilbert Ramos (far left), Christopher Jones (third from left) and James Mathis (third from right).

From robot enthusiasts and future educators to award nominees and meteorology students who have studied under some of the most extreme conditions Mother Nature has to offer, the spring 2014 graduating class of Millersville University is full of students prepared to make the leap into the workforce or graduate achool. On May 10, at 10 a.m., the 1,038 newest graduates of Millersville will receive the baccalaureate degrees they have worked so hard for.

Members of Millersville’s 2013 National Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) Robotics Competition Championship Team will graduate this spring: Chris Jones, Gilbert Ramos, Zach Stone and James Mathis worked on the Semi-Autonomous Marauder with Sensor Optimized Navigation, known better as SAMSON.

“I was tired of going to college,” said Mathis, the leader of the Chassis Development Team. “The daily struggle to complete assignments, study and apply myself in classes that I didn’t care about was draining. The robotics team brought a new perspective to my career at Millersville.”

Mathis credits much of his success, motivation and “introspective life lessons” to Dr. John Wright Jr., professor of automation and electronics technologies.

“His focus and drive is nothing short of inspiring,” said Mathis. “I felt challenged when I worked alongside him. The opportunity to learn from him has been so valuable to me.”

Also graduating are former robotics members: Jon Ellis, Scott Espenshade, Joseph Jeffries and Brandon Lalli.

Dr. Richard Clark, center, and graduating meteorology students from right: Ricardo Uribe, Felicia Guarriello, Megan Buzanowicz and Michelle Serino

Joining the men of the robotics team will be five notable meteorology graduates. Five seniors accompanied Dr. Richard Clark to Smith Point, Texas, enduring the almost unbearable heat and humidity to study air pollution and regional air shed. Joey Markowicz, Michelle Serino, Ricardo Uribe, Felicia Guarriello and Megan Buzanowicz spent the month of September 2013 there, going without hot water and Internet in the name of science.

“One can never gain too much experience making decisions and overseeing students,” said Serino. “I plan to use those skills into my graduate and professional career.”

In addition to their time spent in Texas, Serino and Uribe also traveled to Geneva, N.Y., to launch weather balloons as a part of the Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems project.

Millersville is known far and wide as a teachers’ school. Two students planning to graduate in May, Julia Smith and Jesse Shenk, have been recognized as distinguished graduates. Shenk, a nontraditional student decided to return to school in 2008 to pursue a degree in English, hoping to become a secondary English teacher.

Smith, a transfer student, has spent time studying abroad in France and was given the opportunity to participate as a member of the Professional Development School cohort in an internship with a double placement in both French and English. Both she and Shenk presented at the Pennsylvania Council of English Language Arts Conference in State College in October 2013.

Two Millersville students were nominated for the Syed R. Ali-Zaidi Award for academic excellence. The annual award is open to seniors in one of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education schools; this year Heather Gochnauer and Brian Luckenbill were nominated.

Luckenbill, a physics secondary education major, was honored by the nomination from his professor.

“Although I was not selected to receive this prestigious award, I am still greatly honored to have been a nominee,” said Luckenbill. “The nomination is recognition of all the hard work I’ve done throughout my time here at Millersville University.”

Baccalaureate commencement will be held in Biemesderfer Stadium. For more information, visit http://www.millersville.edu/commencement/.


Robotics Videography:

NAO (Humanoid Research)



SAMSON (2013 Champion Robot)


MARM (Tele-operated Riding Mower Project)


SAM (2010 Champion Robot)


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