Sarah Gonzalez (11) participates in metal shop training. The Subatomic Smarticles will travel to St. Louis to participate in the World Championship from April 27-30.

Students participate in robotics competitions outside of school

April 14, 2016

FRC Team 5677, the Subatomic Smarticles, which includes juniors Antony Sagayaraj, Ashwin Rao, Elena Bronder-Chang, Preethi Kandappan, Sarah de Vegvar, Sarah Gonzalez, Vedaad Shakib and Winifred “Winnie” Li, senior Naman Jindal and Aditi Khanna (8), participated in the FRC Central Valley Regional Competition in Madera from March 10 to March 13 and the Silicon Valley Regional Competition at San Jose State University from April 6 to April 9.

The team performed well at both competitions, becoming one of seven teams from the Central Valley Regional Competition to advance to the World Championships and garnering a Judge’s Award at the Silicon Valley Regional Competition. Additionally, Sarah, the team captain, was awarded the Dean’s List Award for excellence in leadership.

“I think [robotics] is a great way to hands-on learn and apply the things you learn at school,” Sarah said. “It’s also very engaging and fun to do.”

The team, which is based in San Jose, is composed of students from different schools, who meet in their spare time to build the robot. During the six-week build season, the team met after school to create the robot and prepare for the competitions. The students were split into teams that built, designed and programmed the robot, as well as a team that handled fundraising and publicity.

“Through robotics I’ve learned mechanical and electrical design and how to work closely with others to achieve a goal,” Winnie said. “Since I manage the business plan of our team, I’ve also acquired management and communication skills.”

Although the team is relatively new to robotics competitions, having started last year, members of the team have gained valuable experience from it.

“I joined the robotics team because it allowed me express my passion of building things and learn and experience things I can’t get from another club,” Naman said.

The team will travel to St. Louis to participate in the FRC World Championship from April 27 to April 30.

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