Category Archives: Outreach

Janksters at Intuitive Surgical

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School may be over for the summer, but Notre Dame’s robotics team is just as busy as ever! On June 18, Team 1967 attended Robonanza, an annual event hosted by their sponsor, Intuitive Surgical. That Thursday morning, the Janksters arrived early at Intuitive Surgical, eager to meet professional engineers and operate their robot alongside other Bay Area robotics teams. This year, the girls were in for a treat – not only did Robonanza feature 22 teams from across the Bay Area, but there was also a small field set up for playing a modified version of Recycle Rush! After practicing and debugging the robot, Team 1967 was able to compete in three rounds, improving each time and finishing with a stack of four totes. By the end of the event, the employees of Intuitive Surgical were deeply impressed by the robots and the students they had seen, and the Janksters were proud of how well their robot performed.

Like FRC competitions, Robonanza was more than the robots. Throughout the day, the Janksters got to interact with Intuitive Surgical’s employees, learning about what they do as engineers at Intuitive Surgical. One of the employees was even a Notre Dame alumna from the Class of ‘96! Along with gaining role models in the engineering world, the girls made connections with other teams through competing with them and talking with them in the booths. As Tamara Kawa, ‘16, observed, “While Robonanza is an opportunity to meet our sponsors, it’s also a time to just let loose and be a nerd with your fellow roboticists!” With all the wonderful memories of this year’s Robonanza, Team 1967 can’t wait to return to their sponsors next summer!

Team Social

Credit to Alvin

On Friday, April 3rd, the Janksters had a blast at the Team Social with Space Cookies Robotics Team 1868, “Rockin” Bots Team 2035, Presentation Invasion Team 2135, Carrillo Cybernetics Team 5728 , and Mars Style Team 5737!

After an exhausting first day of competition, we were all buzzing with excitement to start the fun night. All the teams walked together to our school, Notre Dame’s, Pardini Park, where there were FIRST frisbees set up. The Social was already off to success, as teams chased frisbees and threw them across the field while laughing and bonding with others.

Once the spectacular meal from the wonderful support by our parents of pizza, salad, and a variety of desserts and fruits was prepared, The Janksters split up, sitting next to other teams and talking the night away.

It was then time to join everyone else on the dance floor, while others went back outside to play with the frisbees and volleyballs. Mars Style was able to stay late and give us beautiful gifts that The Janksters are so grateful for.

Overall it was a great night away from the intensity of competition, and The Janksters can’t wait for the next one.

The robotics team social was probably my favorite moment throughout the whole robotics season. It was a really nice to get to meet with other teams and get to know them! I had a great time dancing with the other teams! I also loved playing games in the dark outside! It was scary but super fun. Can’t wait for next years team social!!

– Stephanie Boyer
Class of 2017

 

Toys for Tots

Recently, many Janksters went to the Toys for Tots event on December 21 to help out with giving out toys to families. I worked as a table organizer but served as a toy runner when the other members took a break. I was surprised by the sea of toys in the area that had and had not been sorted. I also never knew that figuring out the proper places for toys required so much thinking until after participating in this event. It was very fun and exhilarating to rush around trying to find the toys the families wanted while I was a toy runner. Even though I went home with dusty hands from the toys and sore feet from rushing around, I was happy to have contributed to such a good cause. Overall, I think the event was a success, and I will definitely volunteer at this event next year!

–Jasmine Lee

Class of 2018

This past Sunday, a couple of us Janksters went to the Santa Clara Fairgrounds to participate in Toys for Tots. Let me say this, I have never seen so many gifts or happy kids in my life before. Take Target times 3 and ringing ears of joy, that is what this experience felt like. Some of us were choosing gifts in the background and the rest  of us were delivering gifts on the other side of the curtain. I think it’s safe to say that for the people behind the curtain, we loved hearing the kids squeal with joy. For the people handing the gifts, I bet they loved watching kids’ faces stretch as they smile. I definitely look forward to doing this again. It only makes the holidays happier.

-Anisha Patel

Class of 2016

FLL Tournament

I had the most fun and amazing time at FLL. I loved all the team work that the Janksters had, and I loved it when I saw how involved the kids wanted to be. When I saw how excited the kids were to drive our robot or catch the ball, I had on the biggest smile. Some of the shifts that I worked included our concession stand, and our demo area. By the time that I went home each day, I was so happy, and felt accomplished. Even though FLL can be tiring because of the long shifts or focusing all your energy on the kids, I look forward to participating in FLL next year.

–Stephanie Boyer

Class of 2017

Recently, the Janksters went to the FLL Tournament at Intel where we sold concessions, demonstrated our robots, and assisted with the matches. I worked at the coffee station (which was very popular for the adults) at first, then went on to be the time keeper for the competition. It was interesting to meet so many people at the coffee stand, and be able to see the competition up close as a timer. I also noticed that the children in the groups were overall very accepting with their score. For instance, I heard a young girl say something along the lines of, “It’s okay; we can fix it and do better next time!” My shift ended after a pizza lunch, but the competition took up the rest of the day and the next day as well. I believe that the FLL Tournament was a huge success, and it was fascinating to learn more about how the younger generation is getting involved in the STEM field with something we all know and love: Legos!

–Gillian McGinnis

Class of 2018

Cancer Walk

 

While driving to the cancer walk last Saturday, I had no idea what I was about to experience. Before this, I’d never been to any kind of fundraising walk, so I wasn’t expecting too many people to show up. However, once I reached Discovery Meadow, where the walk would begin, I was so surprised that there were many people of various ages there to support the event. The park was filled with people holding red, white, and yellow lanterns, and they set up several booths, representing the teams for the walk. People with white lanterns were the survivors, yellow lanterns were held in the memory of family and friends, and red lanterns marked all the supporters. It was so inspiring to see everyone come together for the Light the Night Walk under one goal, to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma. The highlight of the whole experience was listening to Mimi’s incredible speech. All of the Janksters gathered in front of the stage during her speech, chanting “Mimi! Mimi!” It was such a memorable moment that motivated me to have an active role in my community throughout my life. The walk itself, which began after opening speeches, was so much fun. The Janksters all walked together, occasionally singing songs along the way. Holding lanterns in the night created a very beautiful image, and some drivers even began to press their horns in support of our walk. The amount of energy people brought to the event was truly amazing. Overall, the night was extremely enjoyable, and I will definitely participate in this event again next year.

Mahima Chillakanti
Class of 2018

Light the Night Walk

While driving to the cancer walk last Saturday, I had no idea what I was about to experience. Before this, I’d never been to any kind of fundraising walk, so I wasn’t expecting too many people to show up. However, once I reached Discovery Meadow, where the walk would begin, I became so surprised. With so many people of various ages there to support the event, finding parking itself was difficult. The park was filled with people holding red, white, and yellow lanterns, and they set up several booths, representing the teams for the walk. People with white lanterns were the survivors, yellow lanterns were held in the memory of family and friends, and red lanterns marked all the supporters. It was so inspiring to see everyone come together for the Light the Night Walk under one goal, to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma. The highlight of the whole experience was listening to Mimi’s incredible speech. All of the Janksters gathered in front of the stage during her speech, chanting “Mimi! Mimi!” It was such a memorable moment that motivated me to have an active role in my community throughout my life. The walk itself, which began after opening speeches, was so much fun. The Janksters all walked together, occasionally singing songs along the way. Holding lanterns in the night created a very beautiful image, and some drivers even began to press their horns in support of our walk. The amount of energy people brought to the event was truly amazing. Overall, the night was extremely enjoyable, and I will definitely participate in this event again next year.

–Mahima Chillakanti

Class of 2018

Open House

Honestly, when I first came to the open house, I didn’t really know what I was talking about or what to expect, and I figured I would just improvise as I went along. I was surprised by the amount of people that came interested in robotics, and I found it become much easier to answer their questions and concerns as more people came and I gained experience. At the open house, we mostly aimed to expand awareness about our team and hopefully gain interest from others as well as future members. I’d say that it was a complete success, and we definitely managed to talk to a lot of people and raise interest and awareness regarding our team.

– Tiffany Ta

Class of 2017

Spotlight Week

Spotlight Week was pretty awesome this year. We had a few glitches every here and there (such as music refusing to play), but I guess that’s just bad luck. I loved hearing Mouse’s experiences with the team; I guess you could say it was Throwback Tuesday, in a way. But the only thing I can say that was more entertaining was having Mr. McDougall make Ants on a Log – or, based on how it turned out, Ants in a Swamp. I was kinda bummed that not many people came on the first four days – especially on Wednesday (Destruction Day) and Thursday – but the turnout for Friday’s Jankster Rally more than made up for it! As one of the dance leaders, I loved watching everyone come out and get their groove on; not to mention, it helped get me warmed up for some CalGames mascotting. All in all, it was a great week, and I’d like to encourage more people to come next year!

– Tamara Kawa

Class of 2016

I went to four out of the five events at Spotlight Week, and they were all really fun and interesting. On Tuesday, we all gathered in the chapel to hear Mouse, one of the original members of the Janksters, tell us about her experiences with the team and how those experiences have shaped her life. We heard a lot of little anecdotes, and at the end, we all took a picture with her. On Wednesday, there was a booth set up at lunch for any students who wanted to come take common household items apart. I got to take apart a Nerf gun and managed to pull the casing off of an old sander. It was really fascinating to see all of the inner workings for both. Thursday was an amusing day as we watched multiple teachers attempt to make an “Ants on a Log” snack with varying degrees of success. It was a great eye-opener into the importance of specificity when coding with robots. My favorite day of Spotlight Week was most definitely Friday. The Janksters were playing music, and pretty soon, there was a dance party in the middle of Pardini Park. It was a great way for us to bring attention to CalGames, and I know that I had a lot of fun.

– Julia Hunt

Class of 2018

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