Category Archives: Outreach

FLL 2017


By: Lisha Sebastian ‘21, Ria Nair ’21, Diana Labonville ‘21

This past weekend, Team 1967 volunteered at FLL (First Lego League) competition hosted by Intel. This year’s challenge was “Hydro Dynamics”.

At FLL, the Janksters provided lunch as well as a snack shack for the parents and the teams. The Janksters volunteered to supervise the competition by inspecting robots and timing and setting up for the matches.

The Janksters also directed and hosted stations such as a catapult station where kids could use craft supplies to create a functional catapult. Other Janksters worked at the button-making station, in which they helped younger kids from grades 4 to 8 design their own buttons.

During the competition, the Janksters provided a demonstration and explanation of the previous season’s robot, Pepper Ann. Students were also able to test out some functions of the robot.

Overall, this event was a fun learning experience for all of the Janksters and we’re happy to have had an opportunity to inspire FLL students to continue in their interest in STEM fields.                                                                                                                                   

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


FLL at Intel


The Janksters had an amazing time this past weekend helping out FLL (First Lego League) teams at Intel with their “Animal Allies” challenge.

The Janksters had many jobs from inspecting robots to setting the field and even emceeing for the event! We also had our concession stand with plenty of snacks and candy robot treats.

We also had a “Make A Button” station run by more Janksters. Kids could design and assemble a button with guidance and wear their creation at the competition.

There was also a demo of our robot Cierra from this past season. The Janksters explained the many different components and functions of the robot and people were encouraged to explore and even drive the robot with help from the Janksters.

We’d also like to congratulate the Neon Nargals, coached by our members Yashna Bansal ‘17 and Paulina Robles ‘17, for winning the FLL Core Values Award!

Overall it was a fun and exciting time for our team to help at the event and inspire FLL teams to  pursue robotics through FRC. We had a great time and can’t wait for next year!

If you’d like to read more about members experiences at FLL, make sure to read our Janky POVs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Helping out at FLL

Volunteering at the First Lego League competition was an amazing experience in which I was able to bond with the other rookies and some veterans. The kids were positive and full of energy throughout the event. I was able to help in several parts, including taking photos, selling concessions, and helping with inspections. I went out of my comfort zone by talking to new people about their robots, all while having a fun time. Even though I was there for a long shift, the time flew by and I look forward to helping at FLL next year.

Elizabeth Fernandes

Class of 2020

As a new veteran my experience was different and interesting, and some of the roles I took on were things I never even realized had to be done. The new task that I had at the Intel FLL Tournament was being a field-resetter. At first when I saw that I was going to be doing an important job like this, I was honestly kind of worried. From experience in FRC I knew that this was a really important job and I was afraid I might mess something up by accident. When it was time for my shift to began, I went over to the competition field table, and seeing so many various lego constructions on that table, moving and being shuffled around every two minutes… did not reassure me. However like everything in FIRST and robotics in general, it seems scary but you honestly need to get used to it– and I did. After a few games of the referees showing me what to reset and look out for on the field, I got used to what I was doing and immediately began loving field reset. Ridding myself of those worries also gave me the chance to look at the brilliant FLL robots that each of the teams built and programmed, and it was very fascinating to see how the game challenge worked! (Also as field reset, I got to watch the games up close and in perfect view) In the end this year’s FLL tournament went great for all the teams competing, for the Janksters, and especially for me as I got to take on a new role and enjoy the tournament.

Shreya Basireddy

Class of 2019

At this year’s FLL competition, I was mentoring and coaching the Neon Nargals, an FLL team that Yashna and I started for our senior project.  Since this was their very first competition, they were all excited to present their themed project, compete with their robot, and show off their core values. The team learned a lot from competing, and they are very eager to implement new changes to the robot and to their themed project presentation.  One of the best parts of the day was during the awards ceremony when the team won the Core Values award and a ticket to advance to regionals.

Paulina Robles

Class of 2017

Intuitive Surgical Open House

On Saturday, October 1, I had the opportunity to attend an open house at Intuitive Surgical, a local corporation that creates robots for surgical use. It was fascinating to see how robots are used in the health care field. I was able to test out several robots, and experience their ability to make very small, precise movements, based on my own hand movements. I also participated in a team building activity, building a house out of cards, tape, and string. The structure had to support a family of gummy bears, while withstanding the wind of a hairdryer. This activity gave me a chance to interact with other teams and work on my collaboration, engineering, and problem-solving skills. I really enjoyed this open house, and would like to thank Intuitive Surgical for providing such an amazing opportunity to robotics teams in the area.

Madeleine Waldie

Class of 2020

Toys for Tots

This is my second year helping out with Toys for Tots, and this year, I helped out at the face painting booth and was the toy runner. The toy runner stays behind the scenes and picks out toys that the children would like and delivers it back to Santa. I had a lot of fun picking out toys for the children and hearing their excitement as well as gratitude toward the gifts they received. I would most definitely help out with Toys for Tots again next year, because it is one of my favorite volunteering event that we do on our robotics team.

Rikako Shimizu

Class of 2017

This past week I volunteered at Toys for Tots, a Christmas event for the kids of low-income families. The children came to see Santa Claus who gave them a gift and later participated in all the fun activities. The Janksters did a variety of jobs, but I was a toy runner for the majority of the time. Searching through mountains of donations to find the toys that the elves requested was really challenging, but I felt proud that that I was able to help out. The kids’ joyful laughter of excitement upon receiving a gift from Santa was a great reward for me. The event had a high, positive enery and everyone was pumped for Christmas in the upcoming week. Though tired, I had so much fun and I would love to participate again next year!

Lily Johnson

Class of 2019

Intel’s FLL

FLL was one of my first experiences being a part of the robotics team and I had the most amazing time. I worked at making buttons, and so many kids wanted to draw their own pins; I felt like they had so much fun as well. When I walked around and saw how excited the kids were about showing off their pins, I had the biggest smile. In addition to making buttons, I helped out with the concessions and it was cute seeing the children debate over which candy robot they wanted. By the time I went home, I felt accomplished. Although FLL has all your attention on the kids for long shifts, I look forward to participating in FLL next year.

Tani Pham

Class of 2018

It was great to see all the kids so enthusiastic about being able to drive the robot. I was also able to talk to some adults about our robot, its mechanisms, and our process throughout build season. The FLL tournament gave me more experience in talking about the robot in a way that anyone, even kids, could understand. Overall, the event had a variety of opportunities and fun activities for both children and adults to learn about robotics.

Nikita Jagdish

Class of 2018

Boot Camp

Credits to Alvin
By Tiffany Ta, Class of 2017
From August 10-13, the Janksters held their third annual Boot Camp, during which they helped run various workshops and activities to teach incoming freshman, sophomores, and juniors about all of the aspects of robotics, from build season to the team cultures.
From the moment they  stepped in, the new campers were welcomed by the Janksters, helping warm them up with many icebreakers, such Never Have I Ever and even card games. Combined with lunches together and other fun activities, it was no surprise that the campers felt quite at home.
On the first two days, campers were divided into three groups and participated in a workshop rotation, in which each group would shift between workshops teaching marketing, tool use, Arduino, and CAD. From these workshops, the campers learned more about each aspect of what the various committees work on and discovered what interests they had.
The third and fourth days, however, were quite different. In the mornings, the campers would be split into two groups , attending either a workshop on driving, which explained the build season further in detail and allowed the campers to interact with the robot, or Rube Goldberg, where campers would design machines to release a balloon. In the afternoon, the campers could pick workshops that they enjoyed during the first two days and do even more activities in their workshop of choice.
The Janksters were more than happy to see these campers grow and develop their knowledge about robotics, and most of them confirmed that they were planning to join the team as future Janksters!


Janky POVS:

Boot Camp was a blast! This was my second year helping facilitate the workshops and activities, and I think the overall energy we got from the campers was great. My favorite part was when we went Downtown for lunch on Wednesday, because I was able to see who I’d get along with since they liked the same food as me (kidding), and we were able to relax and have some great conversations while eating on the grass in San Jose State. Most of the students who attended boot camp seemed to have a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see most of them during our robotics meetings this following year.

— Yashna Bansal

Class of 2017

Boot Camp is officially 3 years old! This year, it was full of energetic campers who were engaged and excited to learn. I look forward to seeing some of them come join this season! I got the opportunity to teach Arduino for the second year. During one of the free-choice sessions, I had one of the most rewarding experiences. There was a girl who struggled with understanding the logic behind code I was teaching her. After half an hour of trying countless methods and writing up plenty of notes, we finally figured it out together. Code and the logic behind is hard to grasp for those not familiar with it. To be able to teach it and know she understood was an amazing feeling!

— Minh-Chau Doan

Class of 2017



10 Year Anniversary


By Gillian McGinnis, Class of 2018

On Saturday, August 8, Team 1967 The Janksters celebrated their 10 year anniversary at Notre Dame High School with a gathering of alumnae, mentors, and memorabilia from past years. Originally formed in 2006, our school’s robotics team has worked hard to  not only use fun and creative ideas to build robots, but also to build the confidence of girls interested in STEAM.

The team set up ten tables display our accomplishments and stories for their corresponding year. This included photos, newspaper articles, pieces of the robots, display boards, and more to represent the “evolution” of the Janksters, starting simply as a small team of 7 members in 2006 with the creation of a logo in 2008, and now we are a size of over forty girls in 2015.

As the Learning Commons filled with people, it also filled with smiles, laughter, and anecdotes of their interactions on or with the team. Multiple alums told their stories of the origins of team traditions (such as how to name the robot), as well as silly interactions that happened during build season.

All in all, it was a wonderful commemoration that reminded the Janksters of our roots as a team and brought us back together to celebrate all of our hard work and accomplishments.

STEAM Camp 2015



What’s small, built by girls, and fun to drive? VEX robots, of course! From June 29 to July 2, Team 1967 ran Notre Dame High School’s STEAM Camp, during which they helped students create VEX robots. ND’s STEAM Camp is a six-week summer camp that teaches middle school and high school students about the many aspects of STEAM; each year, the Janksters spend a week of this summer camp teaching the students specifically about robotics.

On June 29, 17 girls came into MLab, eager to see what they would learn about next. After a warm welcome from the Janksters, the campers formed groups and received binders with robot-building instructions. Enthusiastic and ready to learn, the girls worked quickly, with plenty of aid from the Janksters, and by June 30 most of the groups had finished building. The beginning of July also marked the beginnings of complicated robot code, as students programmed their robots to move. You had to be fast on your feet that day, as students were testing their robots out on the floor!
July 2, the last day of the robotics portion of the camp, was a real treat for the students. Before the students arrived, Team 1967 set up an obstacle course and a soccer game in the Learning Commons, giving the students plenty of space for showing off their VEX robots. The Janksters also brought out their 2015 robot, Grace, so that the students could see a large-scale, more complex version of their own robots. The rest of that day was filled with VEX robots whizzing across the Learning Commons, Grace forming stacks, and the students’ laughter as they took this all in. As the students left that day, many were excited by the idea of building large robots in high school; perhaps some of the students saw themselves as future Janksters! Team 1967 loved having the students over, and they hope to see the students again!

Bring Your Kid to Work Day

1397716_1030539250304098_3713261534353391526_o (1)

On Thursday, June 25, Team 1967 attended Bring Your Kid to Work Day at Intel, where they showcased their robot. When the Janksters were sighted in the halls of Intel with their robot, employees and their children grew excited; having worked with Intel in the past, the Janksters had developed a reputation for being a fun, STEM-oriented group of girls. By the time Team 1967 had finished setting up their area, a crowd of children and adults had already formed around the girls, waiting to see the robot in action. Though the 2015 robot, Grace, was unable to be driven, she amazed the audience as she lifted gray totes off the ground to form a stack; after showing off the robot’s capabilities, the Janksters invited children forward to control the robot and get a better idea of how she works. By the end of the day, Grace had been operated by over 130 children and adults; amazingly enough, more girls had controlled the robot than boys!

“When I was explaining the robot to the kids, I noticed one of the boys was wearing a Team 1967 button from 2014. I think he came to our booth last year too and wanted to see us again! It feels good to know that we’re making a difference in attracting kids to engineering.” –Tamara Kawa, ’16

“I love introducing a person to the FIRST robotics community and seeing how amazed they are to know that our team built the robot all on our own. I also love it when the kids feel empowered.” –Camille Miller, ’16

As the day progressed, the Janksters found that Bring Your Kid to Work Day was much more than just an opportunity to let kids drive the robot. When the children picked up their first tote and began to form a stack, they began to ask questions about how the robot worked. Some children put down the controls to get a closer look, pointing to electrical and mechanical parts to learn their function. Two children in particular, a girl and her brother, were utterly fascinated by the science behind the robot and stayed with the team for a long time; one of them even asked to see the robot code. Camille Miller, ‘16, observed that “They ended up knowing how to control the robot better than I did!” The Intel employees also asked questions about the robot and the team, and some asked about how they could get their children into similar programs. By the end of the day, the Janksters had even connected with an ND alumna and gained a new mentor, a female electrical engineer! Team 1967 loved meeting all the children and engineers at Intel, and they can’t wait to attend next year!

« Older Entries