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UT Tyler Earns Accolades at 2023 National ATMAE Conference

November 14, 2023

The University of Texas at Tyler earned accolades at this year’s Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering national conference. Out of nine teams in the design contest, the UT Tyler Department of Technology team earned first place overall and Best Mechanical/Manufacturing Design with their robot entry, Dionysus.

“This is just the third time the university has had a team compete at this conference, and I couldn’t be prouder and more excited that their hard work was recognized,” said Dr. Heshium Lawrence, UT Tyler Soules College of Business interim associate dean and ATMAE Student Chapter faculty adviser. “They put in long hours, and I really appreciate how dedicated they were to this competition.”

UT Tyler team members are industrial technology majors Andrew Valarde of Lindale, Timothy Johnson of Gilmer, Kaleb Saxon of Longview, Miguel Angel Fernandez-Zapata of Houston, Phillip “Randy” Matthews of Central Heights, Jonathan Hall of Florida; computer science major Kacey Flores of Chandler; and industrial management major Verra Venkata Surya Kiran Kosireddy of India.

The competition’s objective this year was to solve a material handling problem by designing, developing and demonstrating a semi- or fully automated robotic system solution. Solution designs should solve a non destructive material handling application problem common to manufacturing, logistics, transportation or similar industries. Application problem and design functions are the purview of each team and are expected to be well-defined, Lawrence noted.

Fernandez-Zapata also reached the semifinals of this year’s IQ Challenge. The challenge is a Jeopardy!-style game in which participants answer questions in various categories such as safety, electronics, quality and grab bag. “The competition is designed to test the students’ knowledge that they have gained in their respective programs and classes, hence, the numerous choices of categories,” Lawrence added. “We are extremely proud of Miguel, and he has a tremendous future here at UT Tyler.”

ATMAE is a highly regarded association with more than 800 members from academia, government and industry who collaborate on innovative ideas, research and applications for the continuous improvement of technology, management and applied engineering in higher education. For more information, visit

With a mission to improve educational and health care outcomes for East Texas and beyond, UT Tyler offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 10,000 students. Through its alignment with UT Tyler Health Science Center and UT Health East Texas, UT Tyler has unified these entities to serve Texas with quality education, cutting-edge research and excellent patient care. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.

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