Diego and Joaquin Murillo prepare their robot for the upcoming World Robot Olympiad Southern California Qualifying Tournament at California State University, Long Beach. They are member of the Makersville/Club Ten robotics team.

Three groups of youngsters and adults will show off their technical skills this Saturday in a joint event at California State University, Long Beach.

Activities run from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CSULB’s Engineering & Computer Science Building, Room 105.

Eighteen to 27 children will compete in the World Robot Olympiad Southern California Qualifying Tournament, said Trish Tsoiasue, who helps coach the Makersville/Club Ten robotics team.

If they qualify, they’ll be able to attend the WRO-USA competition in Michigan on Sept. 19.

“We are so thrilled to be able to serve youth and to have this collaboration with the BSA,” Tsoiasue said in an email. “It has been very enabling for us.”

Tsoiasue’s team — created in 2012 — follows some of the Boy Scouts of America guidelines, but allows females to join, she said. The Robotics Society of Southern California voted earlier this year to allow its name to be attached to the club.

“I was a little worried that the competition wouldn’t happen,” Tsoisue said.

However, professors Walter Martinez and Bob Ward, who teach robotics and engineering at CSULB, allowed the club access to their facility and knowledge, Tsoisue said. The professors also are involved with other events that day.

Six elementary school teams will compete with their EV3 Lego robots, designed to pluck pearl oysters from the sea, Tsoiasue said. Another team in the senior category will compete in a mountaineering challenge, using the Legos to deliver emergency supplies to specific locations. Two open design teams also will compete in the Lego robot explorers division. Tsoiasue said she didn’t know what the open teams had created yet.

Martinez will head the judges and John Willauer of the RSSC will proctor the teams.

Tsoiasue said she’s watched the members of Makersville/Club Ten improve since working with the RSSC during the past several months.

“They’ve really grown so much,” Tsoiasue said of her club members. “It’s great they can focus their energy on something positive.”

Additionally, getting the youngsters to compete in the Olympiad was a feat, Tsoiasue said. A handful of adults spread the word about the competition and gathered the children into the minimum requirement — six teams in a single category, she said.

“Because the WRO is so new to the U.S. (despite its long history in the rest of the world), that took a fair amount of work and outreach at meetings,” Tsoiasue said.

She added that the group determined CSULB’s engineering buildings would provide the best location for the competition.

After the competition, CSULB’s engineering department will have its open house. Ward will lead tours of the labs and student displays, including some from high school age children. CSULB’s flight simulator also will be available.

The RSSC also will have its open house, included in its monthly meeting. President Jim Ubersetzig will lead and members will show their robots.

Parking for the events at 1331 Palo Verde Ave., is available in CSULB’s lot 9.

Reservations are required since space is limited. Attendees and those interested in Makersville/Club 10 are asked to email Trish Tsoiasue at An adult must accompany those age 16 and younger.

For more information on RSSC, visit

Emily Thornton can be reached at

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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