Class of 2011, Electrical Engineering
Quinn Woodard’s research bridges thousands of years of history to bring an ancient Chinese strategy game and an autonomous robot together to pit man against machine.
An electrical engineering major from St. Louis, Quinn represented the TU chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) in November 2008 at the Undergraduate Students in Technical Research (USTR) Competition in Dallas. He won first place for his presentation on an interactive game robot that plays “Go.”
The strategic board game “Go” is an ancient Chinese game similar to chess that uses two colors of stones to control the board and isolate the opponent. Quinn said he chose “Go” because no precedents exist for making an autonomous robot play this game.
To prepare for the competition, Quinn worked closely with J.C. Diaz, professor of computer science and mathematics. Quinn refined his presentation skills throughout the summer and fall of 2008, focusing on eye contact and good speaking skills.
Quinn participated in two TU specialty programs during the 2008 summer: TU STEM-UP, a science, technology, engineering and math program for underrepresented student populations; and the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC). The two TU programs provided faculty mentors and funding for the equipment and hardware for his robotics project. The programs also supported Quinn through work study, housing and tuition money for the summer.
“I’m very grateful to do research at this early stage,” Quinn said. He said he benefited from being able to interact with faculty on a daily basis and meet with upperclassmen and graduate students for mentorships.