In Focus

WELL OILED MACHINE

Every time I bring up the fact that I’m on the robotics team, the immediate response is: “You’re such a nerd,” or “Do you want to be an engineer?” However, the fact is that there are many, many other jobs available for students interested in robotics.

One major aspect of robotics is art and design. Obviously, a large part of robotics is designing a robot, making engineering design a critical skill for members of the robotics team. The new Engineering Design class, offered by physics teacher Val Monticue, hopes to mesh with the goals of the team, allowing for integration between the class and the team.

“The whole concept of engineering design is coming up with the best solution for a problem. The Engineering Design class is about learning how to do all this in a more general sense, rather than the more specialized robotics, so it is accessible to people who have interests that fall outside robotics,” Monticue said.

Beyond design in terms of the robot, art is also a crucial factor for the team in other ways. Every year, the robotics team designs and manufactures hundreds of buttons to give out at competitions. It falls down to the students to manage the artistic design of these buttons.

“Even though I’m not as interested in the engineering or construction aspects of robotics, I find that I still have a place, because there’s a lot more than just building a robot; I can use my art skills to help the club,” junior Sarah Reece said.

Another crucial part of robotics is business and economics. Despite the funding provided by the school, the robotics team benefits from outside grants and sponsorships. So, students interested in business have the opportunity to join robotics and gain real experience writing cover letters and grant requests.

“Although I have had little experience with grant writing and business, I found that the experience helped me learn how to learn with fundraising in the real world,” junior Katrina Hough said.

In the end, despite the focus on technology and engineering, there are countless opportunities for students to become involved in robotics in other venues. For all people interested in fields as diverse as graphic design to business, check out robotics!

 

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