Student teams will get their chance to compete against other mechanical engineering undergraduates in the Northeast when the University of Rochester hosts the Region III Student Conference of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers on April 2 and 3 in Wilson Commons.

A student design contest with robots, oral and poster presentations of student research, and technical Web site competitions will attract more than 150 students from 20 top colleges and universities. Students also will participate in leadership workshops on topics such as internships and resumes, public speaking, and how to manage a small business. This is the first time in more than 20 years that the regional ASME conference has been held at the University of Rochester.

Robots capable of clearing minefields will roll out beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 3, in the Hirst Lounge of Wilson Commons on the University’s River Campus. Four teams will present battery-powered units. The public is invited to attend.

This year’s Mine Madness theme challenged students to create robots to maneuver an obstacle course and pick up and carry away solid objects that represent mines. ASME chose the minefield project because of the abundance of anti-personnel mines in countries around the globe that need to be located and disarmed. The team with the winning robot will travel to Anaheim, Calif., in the fall for the national competition.

Dan Nathan-Roberts, a senior mechanical engineering major at the University of Rochester, is the ASME Region III Student Section Committee representative. He worked with a team of engineering students to coordinate the conference. Bringing the conference to Rochester showcases the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the deep involvement of the local engineering community, he said.