Awards & RecognitionIEEE-USA InFocus

Jacobs and Dulce Recognized for Educator-Engineer Partnership Award

By Paul Lief Rosengren

For outstanding contributions in STEM education and mentoring through the Baltimore Robot Challenge, Alexander Dulce, Charles Herbert Flowers High School, and Neville Jacobs, IEEE Baltimore Section received the 2022 IEEE-USA K-12 STEM Literacy Educator-Engineer Partnership Award.

Jacobs was the prime motivator for the creation of the Robot Challenge in the Baltimore Section; he has led the challenge since its inception 27 years ago. Jacobs was the co-designer of the initial robot; and he has been the prime designer of challenge changes over the years. Jacobs organizes regular monthly meetings to discuss issues related to the Robot Challenge; oversees the challenge website; and provides training for teachers, students and judges taking part in the competition.

Dulce has been active with the challenge for 17 years. As a technical education teacher, he has worked to ensure challenge participation of students from backgrounds underrepresented in engineering. Dulce’s urban, predominantly minority school, regularly has the most participants.

The Robot Challenge encourages high school students to be future engineers. Teams of between two and eight students work on the challenge, gaining an understanding of an engineer’s day-to-day tasks, and how to succeed. In the Robot Challenge, students must build a robot, write a project report, and present to judges. One school district has made the Robot Challenge part of its school curriculum.

COVID presented many challenges to the event, with judging of partially completed projects occurring in March 2020. In 2021, the Robot Challenge was conducted entirely online; and it changed from building wood robots, to include an option to use 3D-printed models built at home. In 2022, the challenge included options for online or in-person participation, as well as the choice between the traditional wooden unit, or the 3D-printed one. By going online, participation was able to expand to adjacent states.

In his nomination, Don Herres, a longtime member of the Baltimore Section, states, “Neville is a pleasure to work with, and well organized. We enjoy working with him, but he is also forceful enough to get people to complete tasks on schedule.” He continued, “Alex earns respect every year from a new group of students. He is well liked and respected by peers as well as by IEEE members.”

William Semancik, former officer of the Baltimore Section, and overseer of the repairs area for the challenge for more than a decade, wrote in his support for the nomination, “I have seen Alex’s efforts succeed in producing students that are more confident and more adept, after completing the engineering challenge,” adding, “The team of Alex and Neville have inspired large numbers of students to enter the engineering field.”

Jacobs is the Director for Student Activities at the IEEE Baltimore – Maryland Section. He graduated from Oxford University (UK) with BA/MA in Engineering Science. He retired from Westinghouse Electric Corp as Test Director, Ground Based Radar Systems. He has been teaching engineering to high school students for 14 years.

Dulce teaches design in the Technology Education Department of the Charles Herbert Flowers High School, Prince George’s County Public Schools.

The IEEE-USA K-12 STEM Literacy Educator-Engineer Partnership Award honors pairs of K-12 educators and engineers that, through joint collaboration, provide learning experiences to precollege students; support the education and curriculum requirements of their institutions; promote and increase the math, science and engineering awareness of student participants; and/or support IEEE’s and IEEE-USA’s educational goals. To learn more about IEEE-USA awards, visit:


Paul Lief Rosengren

Paul is the coauthor of In the Time of Covid: One Hospital's Struggles and Triumphs. He worked for more than three decades in corporate communications at NBC, PSE&G, BD and in state government. He has a Master’s in Public Policy from The Kennedy School of Government, Harvard; and an undergraduate degree in political science from Dickinson College.

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