Category Archives: Janky News



By Miranda Godinez ’18

Last weekend, The Janksters had the opportunity to participate in CalGames on October 7 and 8. Thirty-eight teams gathered at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale to compete at CalGames.

At the competition, the team successfully accomplished all of its goals: rank in the top 15, introduce first-time veteran members to leadership positions, acclimate the team’s rookies to the competition environment, and, of course, have fun! Team members led groups of rookies in activities to help them become more accustomed to the environment of a competition. This included visiting other teams to see how they designed their robot to meet the season’s challenge, analyzing the performance of other teams’ robots during matches, and participating in a scavenger hunt. “I was mainly nervous about talking to other teams and people I didn’t know…but as soon as I got more comfortable with asking strangers questions about their robots it was really fun.” Libby Barrese ‘20 said.

Rookies weren’t the only ones adjusting to a whole new world of competition. Veterans had the opportunity to step up by being more involved in pit crew helping repair the robot and troubleshoot and by taking up new positions such as safety captain and drive team. Anisha Kabir ‘19 was one of the many veterans who found herself having a bigger part to play at competition: “I took on the role of managing match and pit scouting and, at first, it seemed daunting. I felt the pressure of responsibility, something I didn’t really need to worry about as a rookie. But after experiencing a few matches and adapting to my role, I felt glad that I could contribute something valuable to the team.” The Janksters used this competition to experience personal growth and team bonding, making this competition one to remember.

In fact, something quite memorable did happen at this competition. We were selected to join the 4th-seeded alliance with the Girl Scouts-sponsored team Space Cookies and Serra High School’s Gear Gremlins. After a series of tough matches, lots of cheering, and unexpected wins, The Janksters and their alliance pulled through and made their way to the top, winning the entire competition. “After we won, I just felt so fulfilled, knowing that we all worked to put together that robot and all those hours finally really paid off. I was so surprised of how well we had done and I think our achievement brought us closer together as a team.” Nikita Jagdish ‘18 said. Along with winning CalGames 2016, The Janksters were also recognized for their consistent scaling mechanism with the Systems Design Award, and their coach Marta Carrillo was presented with the Mentor of the Year Award for her constant support and significant contribution to the team.

The Janksters weren’t the only ones who got in on the action. Ms. Yi, a science teacher at Notre Dame, had this to say about her experience at the competition: “I was impressed by how many different teams there were, and watching you guys cheer on your team was fun. I brought my 4-year-old and he enjoyed watching the robots do their thing.” We all had such a memorable experience at CalGames, and we would like to thank everyone in the Notre Dame community who came to support us and to join in on the fun. Because of CalGames, we concluded the 2016 season on a high note, and the effects of this year can be best summarized by the words of Yashna Bansal ‘17: “You all deserve to be proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished during the entire 2016 Season. Everything we’ve been recognized for is a result of hundreds and hundreds of hours put in by each and every one of you. I can’t even put into words how proud I am of all of you.” We look forward to the upcoming season and hopefully many more years that will be as memorable as this one.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chezy Champs


Anika Asthana ‘20 and Lara Fernandes ‘18


The Janksters recently competed at Chezy Champs on September 24th and 25th! Chezy Champs is a premier robotics competition hosted at Bellarmine during the off-season. 41 teams came together to compete, with out-of-state teams coming from Washington, Oregon and Texas. Some of these teams were Regional and World Champions, which made the matches intense and exciting.


Going into this competition, the Janksters had a few goals: we wanted to be on the field in all of the matches, take advantage of all of the mechanisms on our robot, rank in the top 25, meet new teams, and most importantly, have fun! We were able to accomplish all of these and more; our team ranked 23rd, we were able to play 9 out of our 10 matches and we were able to scale and capture a tower in many of the matches we played. Additionally, we were selected to be a member of the 6th alliance and advanced to the elimination rounds in the quarterfinals. Our Drive Team and Pit Crew worked hard both on and off the field to keep our robot in its best working condition.


While our focus was meeting our goals for the competition, Chezy Champs was a huge learning opportunity for the rookies on the team and great experience for our veteran members. Newer Janksters were able to experience the thrill of competition and receive a first-hand look at what robotics is all about. The entire team bonded and had a lot of fun – whether it was cheering from the stands when our robot scaled or having our own little dance parties. The Janksters learned about the different ways that other teams accomplished the same tasks and gained a broader, more comprehensive insight on robotics concepts as a whole. All in all, the entire team learned about different robots, new strategies, and about each other.


Chezy Champs was a great experience for the the team, both educationally and competitively, and we can’t wait to compete again and show an even better performance. Thank you to everyone in the ND community, from faculty to students, who came and supported our team at Chezy Champs. We are competing again at CalGames the weekend of October 7th at Fremont High School, so make sure to come and support us. We hope to see you there!




By Yashna Bansal ‘17

Originally posted on NDSJ

Notre Dame’s Robotics Team, the Janksters, recently hosted their 4th Annual Boot Camp. Using this four day camp as an opportunity to recruit new students and spread more awareness about STEAM, the Janksters created and led workshops revolving around the team’s different aspects–mechanics, electronics, programming, and business.

Campers gained various technical skills through student-led workshops. On Monday and Tuesday, the attendees rotated through four different workshops, gaining basic skills in wiring and programming an Arduino, using power tools such as saws and drills, CADing (Computer Aided Design) and 3D Printing keychains, and designing personalized buttons on Adobe Illustrator. Wednesday and Thursday, the campers were able to take a tour of the TechShop (which the team uses throughout the year to manufacture different pieces for various projects and the robot), drive and learn more about the robot, work in teams to complete a Rube Goldberg challenge, and explore one of the Monday and Tuesday workshops more in depth.

The campers gained a lot more than just new technical skills. Robotics Boot Camp provided an opportunity for the incoming Notre Dame students to interact with one another and create friendships before the school year even began. Through the different group activities and workshops, the Janksters and other students created a bond that will carry through with the group of students who join the robotics team this year.

Beyond the impact this camp had on the campers, the Janksters who helped lead and facilitate everything grew as well. Jayel Ambat (‘19) reflected, “As a sophomore, I still have a fresh memory of my experience in Boot Camp last year” which played a huge part in her decision to join the robotics team. She talked about how different it was for her to go from being a camper with no prior robotics experience to being one of the Janksters knowledgeable enough to lead a workshop. And she wasn’t the only Jankster who learned from the experience of teaching and bonding with the incoming freshmen and other students that attended the Robotics Boot Camp.

Silicon Valley Regional (SVR)


Written by Lara Fernandes ‘18

Originally published on NDSJ

The Janksters recently competed at the FIRST Silicon Valley Regional robotics competition at San Jose State University. This was their second competition of the 2016 season.

On Thursday morning, the San Jose State Event Center was officially opened for all the robotics teams to kick off the three fun and exciting days of competition. The girls rushed into the Event Center, ready to start their day. Thursday was a day for the girls to finalize changes to the robot before the actual matches. While some of the girls were working on our robot, the other girls were networking with the other robotics teams at the competition, asking them about their robot and teams. There were also some housekeeping things that needed to be taken care of before the official days of competition started. The team passed out helpful downtown guides and our giveaways to the other teams. Meanwhile, in our pit, the girls were finishing up the robot, and getting it inspected so that the team could compete in the matches the following day.

Early Friday morning, the girls crowded around the doors, bracing the cold and rain to get the best seats. Matches officially started that day and the team wanted to be right in the center, cheering on their robot, Cierra. There were some communication issues with the robot the girls faced but they reached out to other FRC teams for help and were able to work through the problems. Cierra performed well in the first day of matches and the team worked hard in the pits and the stands whether it was working on the robot, networking with other teams, scouting during matches or just showing ND spirit.

The Janksters held a team social at Notre Dame later on Friday as an opportunity to interact with other teams. Team 1868 (Space Cookies), Team 5089 (Robo-Nerds), Team 5940 (B.R.E.A.D.), Team 6036 (Terrace Tech) and Team 5655 from Turkey (Kelrot) were invited to spend some time with the Janksters and have fun with each other. There was plenty of food, laughter, dancing and even pool noodles to create a wonderful end to the first day of competition. “Talking to other teams was pretty fun, getting to know them and what they did, at the Team Social” said Paulina Robles ‘17.

The Janksters came back on Saturday with renewed energy and were prepared to face another day of competition. The team worked hard to problem-solve the issues with communication they had faced on day one and all of their effort payed off. In the team’s second to last match, Cierra exceeded expectations when it passed through a defense during autonomous, picked up a ball, and the scaling mechanism worked. There was a chorus of cheers and a flurry of red pom-poms, excitement flooding the stands when our robot scaled the tower. “There was one match that we did really well in and the scaling mechanism completely worked, we were completely over the line and we got the points for it. I was really happy because that was the first time it was successful and it showed that Scaling’s work had really paid off.” said Miyo Imai ‘18. The team did not advance to eliminations, but knowing that we had done our best and our robot had performed well on the field was a victory in itself.

As the awards ceremony of the Silicon Valley Regional began, our team waited for the winner of the Spirit Award to be called. When the announcer called out “Team 1967, the Janksters” there was first a moment of surprised silence and then an eruption of cheering. The girls ran onto the field, received the award and high-fived all of the judges. We had been recognized for our spirit from overflowing enthusiasm to our bright red bows.

This season was a large step forward for the Janksters with receiving with the Imagery and Safety Awards at Madera, the Spirit Award, and having Yashna Bansal ‘17 recognized as a Dean’s List finalist by FIRST Robotics. The team is continuing to grow and improve as the years go by. “I remember in my freshman year, the design we had for the robot was relatively simple, but each year I’ve seen the design grow more and more complicated until finally other teams are coming to us to learn what we did. We stand out more, not just in terms of our robot design but in terms of our branding.” said Tamara Kawa ‘16.

Central Valley Regional 2016 (CVR)


(Originally posted on

Recently Notre Dame’s Robotics Team, the Janksters, traveled to Madera, full of excitement and nervousness for the first competition of the 2016 season. The girls were waiting in anticipation to see their robot, Cierra, compete on the field for the first time.

Early Friday morning, the girls waited anxiously outside the doors of the pits, ready to get to work on Cierra.  As soon as the pits opened, several of the girls rushed in to improve the robot while the others set out on a quest to network with and scout the other FRC teams present at the Central Valley Regional. By 4:30, many of the girls had finished with their tasks and were watching practice matches. At 8:00 pm sharp, the pits closed, and the Janksters left happy and content to say that Cierra was fully functional and ready for competition the next day.

On Saturday, the matches officially began. Cierra, passed inspection quickly before the first match that the Janksters would compete in that day. Since the girls had been working on Cierra all day Friday, the team was unsure if the robot would be able to drive at all.  All worries flew out the window when the girls began to cheer loudly as they saw Cierra glide around the playing field.  Throughout the seven matches the Janksters played on Saturday, Cierra performed well, despite connection issues. The day concluded on a high note with the first award ceremony of the competition. As soon as he said “the girls in black ties”, the team jumped down to the field and high fived all the judges who smiled proudly and congratulated the team for its efforts towards the team’s imagery. The girls left the venue that first day of competition happy and content that the team’s aesthetic and 5 years of establishing a cohesive look had been validated.

Sunday was a shorter day for the girls since the Janksters had only three more matches left to play before alliance selections. Sadly, Cierra still had connection issues, and was therefore unable to perform its full potential. Instead of being upset that the team was not advancing on to eliminations, the girls worked hard and were able to find the source of the connection issues. The time for the second award ceremony of the Central Valley Regional had arrived, and the girls were anxious to hear the winner of the Safety Award.  The announcer called out “Team 1967, the Janksters,” and the team rushed down to the field once again in a frenzy of happiness.  As the cherry on top of the competition, Yashna Bansal, the team administrator, was recognized as a Dean’s List Finalist for her extensive efforts to push Team 1967 onto a path of long term success. The competition experience was unlike any other and was a weekend full of laughter, screaming, excitement, and wonderful memories that any Jankster would be unlikely to forget anytime soon.

Stop Build


The Janksters have made phenomenal progress this Build Season, and we are so proud of all members for their determination and organization throughout these challenging six weeks.

In Kickoff, the team was given a video and a 100-page game manual. They delved into the depths of the game in order to understand exactly what we need. Cynthis Chung ’19 commented, “By the end of the day, we ended up with a long list of great ideas that are going to contribute to the making of our robot”.

The team were then ready to come up with a strategy after sorting through everyone’s goals, ultimately deciding on one that would best fit our capabilities and objectives. Concrete ideas were created, and prototypes were made. Prototyping allowed everyone to experience problems and solve them, narrowing broad ideas to the best, msot rational option. Katie McLaughlin ’19 summed it up perfectly when she said “My favorite part is seeing all these crazy ideas start to form something that is becoming more realistic. After much discussion and troubleshooting, members started finalizing factors like how actual mechanism will function, materials they will use, and solving any issues that they come across”.

Once actual committees were created , the Build Season process became much more goal-oriented, and each group of students was able to bond throughout the next few weeks. Mechanical became separated into Ball Manipulation, Field Elements, Scaling, and Chassis. All committees kept working hard despite the time crunch of deadlines. but they began to stress when Robot Reveal came around the corner.

Though the team didn’t know if the robot was going to work in time, but it was fully functional for family, friends, and teachers to enjoy, so we were able to make finishing touches before Stop Build. Despite the many mechanisms it has, including 10 wheels, two electronics boards were able to fit on. Long hours did not bring anyone down, and around 2 hours before Bag and Tag, the robot was able to go around defenses, shoot boulders, and move with maneuverability.

Yesterday, our coach returned to school with various pints of ice cream to continue our tradition of naming the robot. She collected the names of the many employees that had helped her in the process of buying ice cream, toppings, and syrups. One name was picked out, and the team is ecstatic about the result. We are ecstatic to welcome Cierra of 2016 into our robot family!

The team is now preparing for competition, and the drive team has been decided. There’s a time crunch to get some practice in with the second robot, and all the committees are trying to consolidate items to pack. Additionally, members Tamara Kawa and Tiffany Ta are practicing for their presentation in Chariman’s Award, which they will show to the judges at our first competition, Central Valley Regional. Come out to Madera and watch Cierra perform for the first time on March 11 and 12th!



Robot Reveal Night 2016


On Sunday Night, Notre Dame High School was filled with excitement as the Janksters, Notre Dame’s robotics team, proudly presented the result of six weeks of hard work. More than 150 parents and teachers watched with amazement as the robot maneuvered its way across the Learning Commons!

The night started off with a student-run presentation about the general process the team goes through during Build Season from “kickoff” to “bag and tag.” The four main committees (mechanical, electronics, programming and marketing) then shared their goals and highlights from this year’s build season. Some of these goals were lofty and couldn’t be fully achieved, but students found true reward in the journey.

Following the student presentations, Coach Marta Carrillo shared details of the hours that had been contributed during the season – more than 8,000! When asked about the most significant part of the night, Nandana Suresh ’19 said it was “the amount of total hours everyone put in,” which was by far the most in the history of our team.

When it was finally time to reveal the robot, the crowd was full of excitement and curiosity. The robot made its way through the middle of the Learning Commons with maneuverability that did not disappoint. Amritha Sankrappan ’18 commented, “It was fun and a great learning experience. It was cool to see our robot move for the first time.” Some team members had never seen the robot’s full range of capabilities so they were as surprised as parents and teachers to see it pick up and shoot a boulder in the air before successfully crossing a defensive obstacle.

The last hour was set aside for the audience to see the robot up close, ask team members questions they may have, look at the marketing committee’s various accomplishments and mingle with others while enjoying snacks.
We hope our guests enjoyed Robot Reveal Night as much as the team did because their support has been our source of inspiration throughout the build season. We have further improved our robot since Robot Reveal Night and look forward to competition!

(Originally published on Notre Dame San Jose)


Week 6 of Build


Hooray! It’s the last week of the 2016 Build Season, and the Janksters are making loads of progress as they realize that Stop Build is only a few days away.

The Mechanical Committee has finished CADing for the most part, but subcommittees are struggling to finish their large projects:

Field Elements finished a full set of bumpers and are now trying to finish the second set of bumpers, along with a shield.

Scaling made revisions to their scissor lift in order to make it fully functional, and they have also created a cross brace on the chassis.They are a little behind schedule but working hard to mount, as well as build, various elements.

Chassis are very close to finishing the chassis for the final robot, but they do need to assemble parts for a second Chassis.

Point Scoring has built all of their components but are having worried that they may not have enough time to finish their mechanism!

The Programming Committee is nearly finished coding for the robot’s different elements, but they have to compile all of those codes to ensure that it works on the electronics board. They are currently working on autonomous and working through any obstacles that show up along the way.

Meanwhile, the Electronics Committee mounted and debugged various electronics boards on the robot, all of which were found to be successful!  However, they still have to mount the battery mount, work on limit switch mounting, and make a few finishing touches on the robot’s final electronics board.

Finally, Marketing has completed most of their projects, including bows, t-shirts, and buttons, all of which will be ready for Robot Reveal Night. They have been consistent with their social media plan and are now working hard on giveaways for competition. Robot Reveal will undoubtedly bring a few new tasks for the committee to work on.

We look forward to these last few days and will be proud of the robot, no matter it’s capabilities.

As usual, the team would not have been able to accomplish any of this without it’s sponsors, mentors, and parents. Thanks for all of the support!



Week 5 Build

Credit to Tamara Kawa

It is already Week 5 of Build Season, and the Janksters have been continuing their hard work on the robot.

The Electronics Committee has finished making vertical boards, mounting components on both of their boards, and wiring talons to the power distribution panel.

The Programming Committee has been busy coding, which they are currently testing and debugging.

The Mechanical Committee sub-groups have been busy:

Field Elements is working on bumpers and the robot cart handles.

The Scaling Committee has manufactured parts for their scissor lift and winch. They have also finalized their CAD and are putting together their parts.

The Chassis group has started putting the chassis together since they are finished CADing.

Finally, the Marketing Committee has been working on the standard, and they have almost finished making bows. They have started button production and are currently working on Robot Reveal Night preparations.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, mentors, and parents for all of your help and support!

Week 4 Build

Credit to Tamara Kawa

The Janksters have been working hard as Build Season continues. We are already into Week 4, and there has been a lot of progress.

The Electronics Committee has finished CADing for the sideboard and are finalizing the CAD for the vertical board. Right now, they’re working on mounting electronic pieces, such as the battery mount.

The Programming Committee has been presenting information on coding and making sure everyone is comfortable with deploying code. They have recently started writing the code for the robot.

The sub-groups of the Mechanical Committee have been keeping busy as well:

Field Elements has finished CADing for the robot cart.

The Scaling Committee has made progress with CADing the mounts and have finished CADing the main mechanism for the robot. They plan to start building this weekend and finishing the main mechanism.

Finally, the Chassis group has finished working on their gearboxes and have started working on the chains.

The Marketing Committee has continued working hard on designs. They completed robot reveal invitations  and are almost done with the team’s t-shirt designs.
There has also been progress on the team standard.

Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, mentors, and parents for helping us!


« Older Entries Recent Entries »