Maybe they should call him “Strongman” Steve Mascaro.

By day, he’a a mild-mannered bespectacled associate professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Utah. But when the TV cameras turn on, he’s an “American Ninja Warrior.”

Mascaro is a fan of the popular NBC reality-TV  show, “American Ninja Warrior,” in which contestants climb, crawl and jump through a notoriously difficult obstacle course. His dream was to compete on the series, and on Monday night, July 9, he got his wish, appearing on an episode during the show’s Minneapolis qualifiers.

First, Mascaro made a promise to his robotics students: If they build small robots that can maneuver through a course similar to the TV show’s course for humans, he would audition. The students did just that, and Mascaro began to train.

Click below to see KSL, Channel 5’s story on Mascaro’s incredible journey to both inspire his students and live out his long-held dream. And also click below on Mascaro’s audition video sent to the show’s producer that got him picked for the July 9 episode. Click here to see the full episode on

KSL, Channel 5’s Story

Mascaro’s Audition Video