Humans of Harker: Robotics and Relaxation

Chris Leafstrand continues building while finding time to relax

%E2%80%9CFor+me%2C+mountain+biking+is+about+the+experience+and+the+community+and+people+you+hang+out+with.+I+don%E2%80%99t+dwell+much+on+what+place+I+finish%2C+but+more+on+improving+my+time%2C+meeting+new+people%2C+hanging+out+with+my+friends%2C%E2%80%9D+Chris+Leafstrand+%2812%29+said.
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Humans of Harker: Robotics and Relaxation

“For me, mountain biking is about the experience and the community and people you hang out with. I don’t dwell much on what place I finish, but more on improving my time, meeting new people, hanging out with my friends,” Chris Leafstrand (12) said.

“For me, mountain biking is about the experience and the community and people you hang out with. I don’t dwell much on what place I finish, but more on improving my time, meeting new people, hanging out with my friends,” Chris Leafstrand (12) said.

Kathy Fang

“For me, mountain biking is about the experience and the community and people you hang out with. I don’t dwell much on what place I finish, but more on improving my time, meeting new people, hanging out with my friends,” Chris Leafstrand (12) said.

Kathy Fang

Kathy Fang

“For me, mountain biking is about the experience and the community and people you hang out with. I don’t dwell much on what place I finish, but more on improving my time, meeting new people, hanging out with my friends,” Chris Leafstrand (12) said.

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As soon as the after-school bell rings, Chris Leafstrand (12) makes his way towards the Robotics Lab, where he spends countless hours designing Team 1072’s robot. Then, during competitions, he is on the front lines as the driver.

Although his hard work and dedication to the program helped has paid off, Chris recalls a disastrous freshman year.

“My freshman year, the robot didn’t move at all. Even at competition, we didn’t move,” he said.

Despite these setbacks, the robot continued to improve each year, and Team 1072 booked a ticket to Houston to participate in the worldwide competition this year. Chris was an essential part of the process, being the robot’s primary driver and designer.

“Chris was the robotics team. When we would talk about the robot, we would say it is his robot. He put in so much effort to – everyday, he was there, and he designed it, he taught others how to design, he built it, and he drove it,” David Melisso (12), Chris’ friend and fellow Robotics team member, said.

In design, Chris started working with Computer-Aided Design (CAD), which is also one of his favorite parts of robotics. His love for CAD came from an early age, as he enjoyed building freely and had a large collection of handmade objects.

“I like taking an idea or concept and fabricating it all the way so that I can have it in real life,” Chris said.

Chris’ design skills extended outside the lab, as they greatly assisted him in real-life applications, such as an internship where he helped designed drones to transport medical supplies to remote regions of the world.

Chris’ experience at the internship helped him become an even better creator, as it taught him a more textbook approach to mechanical engineering. This caused his commitment and dedication to the team to increase, as he helped out with technical difficulties.

“The robot broke on many occasions when he was driving, and he would always be right there to fix it,” David Melisso said. “It definitely was not his job, but he was there when he didn’t have to be, just making sure that the robot got fixed.”

Despite Chris’ hectic schedule, which includes hours of robotics and schoolwork, he always finds time to relax. He attributes his happiness in part to a great group of friends who have bonded throughout senior year, especially when mountain biking.

“For me, mountain biking is about the experience and the community and people you hang out with,” Chris said about mountain biking. “I don’t dwell much on what place I finish, but more on improving my time, meeting new people, [and] hanging out with my friends.”