Hands-on, ready for robots: New robotics members start preparing for build season


Mark Hu

Aditi Vinod (11) shows Rohan Rashingkar (10) how to design a robot piece.

by Isha Moorjani and Sabrina Zhu

A group of young engineers gather around a table on a Thursday afternoon in early November, wearing clear goggles and curious looks. They observe closely as Chloe Affaki (11), Machining Director of Harker Robotics, drills one centimeter holes into a metal plate, carefully showing the precise movements.

Every week, high school students involved in Harker Robotics meet in Nichols Hall Starting from August and continuing through January, the training season is a time for preparation before the build season. Older students refine their skills, and they share their knowledge and talents with the younger members.

“At the beginning of the year, members split into different sub-teams. Once you pick a sub-team, the respective directors have training projects planned for the training season, and these projects can be a variety of things,” said Hari Bhimaraju
(11), Operations President, who’s been in robotics since her freshman year. “Right now, for example, we’re working on an off-season robot.”

Provided by Gloria Zhu

These sub-teams include design, mechanical, software, machining and electrical, and the new students choose the section that interests them the most, where they will further cultivate more specific

“They’ll show you how to do it, and then you’ll do it, and if you mess up, they’ll just show you how to do it correctly,” Emma Biswas (9), a new participant of the robotics program, said. “So it’s very hands-on, and you’re not just sitting there and watching.”

Most of the time, the trainees work independently, in pairs, or at most, groups of three. This gives them personalized mentors and different learning experiences.

“In the process of doing a project, the [younger students] are able to ask specific questions about the task at hand, and they are becoming more confident as the training season progresses. You see them doing more [activities] by themselves, and they also become more comfortable with asking questions,” Hari said.