Chemistry teacher and co-club adviser Victoria Conner gives an overview of the Rover Ruckus robotics competition at the club's fall informational meeting. (Photo by Shimin Zhang)

Robotics club whirs to life after delayed grant

After securing a donation of parts and $200 from VEX Robotics, the Robotics Club has begun meeting regularly this semester.

Since competitions start in the fall, the club uses its meetings on B days at lunch to learn and practice coding and building, according to freshman Nihal Gulati.

Chemistry teacher and co-club adviser Victoria Conner said, “Since we just got the materials, we can get used to them and get to know them and then be ready for (the competitions in the fall).”

The club already built its first robot from the box instructions by VEX Robotics, using Java to code it.

According to director of technology and co-club adviser Shelly Hinson, each club member assembled a bit of the robot.

Hinson applied for the grant in October; however, it took awhile to process, she said.

Hinson added that VEX Robotics gave the club the parts provided there would be female members. The club has 11 members, five of whom are girls. The grant was worth $1,000.

Some members have never done robotics.

“I’m very new (and have) never touched a robot,” junior Jason Li said. “I just got introduced to how robots work, like Robotics 101 for Dummies. It’s really interesting how everything (in the robot) is connected.”

Other members joined the club because they have done robotics outside of high school.

“I did robotics in elementary and middle school, and it’s always been fun,” Gulati said. “So I decided to join (this year).”

Kenyatta Dumisani also has robotics experience.

“I do robotics as a hobby,” Dumisani said. “I’ve done robotics in middle school, and since (the high school) didn’t have a club last year, I did it as a hobby and built a drone.”

Conner said the club is for everybody interested in robotics, experienced or not.

“It’s a great opportunity for students who are interested in design, engineering and programming to get hands-on experience,” Conner said. “Not everybody has to be a seasoned programmer in order to be in it.”

—By Arijit Trivedi

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