Seneca Valley senior's project a cut above the rest
Seneca Valley senior Corey McCoy tackled a graduation project that looked like something out of a Steven Spielberg movie.
McCoy, 18, who built a remote controlled lawnmower, wasn't interested in constructing a device that was all show but no substance. With the power to carry several hundred pounds, a hairpin-turning radius, a full-sized mower deck and a receiver and transmitter that will operate from up to 100 yards away, the result is something unique – Mowbot.
McCoy's interest in such a project was sparked during his sophomore year when he took Stephen Wolfe's robotics class at Seneca Valley.
“I love to build things,” said McCoy, who has already been accepted to Penn State but is waiting to hear from his first choice, Maine Maritime Academy, where he would like to study petroleum engineering. “Mr. Wolfe was my mentor on the project and I owe a lot to him.”
McCoy and Wolfe would often discuss the design. Mowbot took nearly five months to create. Wolfe has been amazed by how the enterprising student absorbs knowledge.
“Most kids want a cookbook type of project with the steps all laid out for them,” Wolfe said. “That's not what Corey wanted at all. He wanted to challenge himself.”
The invention, which uses two motors from an electric wheelchair, has enough power to handle even the most stubborn terrain. He already has plans on using his existing design to create a yard machine that could work as a remote controlled snowplow, seeder, and even a wheelbarrow that can dump its contents.
“I really enjoy robotics, and whether it's a career or not, I think it will always be something I am involved with,” said McCoy, who works two part-time jobs to pay for his project. “I think the elderly or a disabled person could benefit from using it.”
McCoy didn't simply build this to get credit for his graduation project, he did it because he loves to acquire new skills and then apply those skills to something tangible, his teacher said.
“Corey is the kind of person that I can see doing anything he wants to,” Wolfe said. “He will do great things in his life. He is smart, driven and an all-around great young man. His parents brought him up right.”
Wolfe went on to say that officials at Seneca Valley deserve a lot of credit for having the foresight to spend some money to get technology classes into the district. McCoy is proof that the investment was worth it.
“I learned how to do a lot of this in classes at Seneca Valley. Along with Mr. Wolfe, Mr. (Joseph) Logsdon taught me a lot about engineering and Mr. (Joseph) Ehrenberger showed me how to weld,” said McCoy, who is also an Eagle Scout from Troop 344.
In February, McCoy will take part in the STEM Fair with his invention and is slated to receive a small grant from the district to help fund improvements he has planned for his device.
As for the future of Mowbot, McCoy won't rule anything out. For now, he plans to continue working on improving his design. But don't be surprised to someday see one of McCoy's inventions for sale in a retail store.
“A student like Corey makes choosing this profession all worthwhile for me,” Wolfe said. “He's a stand-out student. He's the kind of young man you will just never forget.”
David McElhinny is the North Bureau Chief with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-772-6362 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Digital Age reboots foreign language instruction in Western Pa. schools
- South Park middle school project will require student relocation
- Wilkinsburg Black History Month dinner to benefit young entrepreneurs
- Moon Area hires security company for second consultation
- Dormont to ease parking crunch once auto dealer vacates lot
- Cheaper gas a boon for road projects in Western Pennsylvania
- Mt. Lebanon residents reportedly plan private deer hunt
- Bethel Art Guild tweaks name to eliminate ‘old bag’ stigma
- North Allegheny teen eager to serve
- Findlay manager Gary Klingman to retire after 26 years