Category Archives: Point of View

YWES 2016

I co-directed the Young Women Engineering Symposium with another senior, Rikako, this year. Seeing all my work for the past six months finally come to life was extremely rewarding. Rikako and I worked hard to get all the speakers and spread awareness about the event so to have 10 women engineers present and close to 90 attendees was amazing. The workshops I took a glimpse at were very interesting. I attended the previous two YWES and always emerged inspired so I hope the attendees this year did too. I really wanted to provide resources and let these girls know that there is so much opportunity and potential for them in STEM and I hope they felt empowered.

Minh-Chau Doan

Class of 2017

I had a fantastic time at this year’s Young Women’s Engineering Symposium. I took three workshops (Biomedical, Industrial, and Systems Engineering), which all were so knowledgeable, because I knew so little about these fields beforehand. I particularly liked Systems Engineering, in which I had the opportunity to hear from an employee at Intuitive Surgical who is working on the da Vinci robot.  As a senior on the team, it was great to see so many girls who are interested in STEM attending. All of the engineers really inspired me to pursue engineering as I enter college, and they gave unforgettable advice.

Rabab Karimjee

Class of 2017

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

Space Systems Loral POV

Going on the Space Systems Loral field trip was a very interactive and
eye-opening experience, in the sense that I was able to understand a
lot more about how satellites were made. The main thing I learned was
how similar building a satellite- an object that goes up into space –
was to building a robot, which really blew my mind.

Anika Asthana

Class of 2020



Competing at CalGames

This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend CalGames on Saturday. Although most of the rookies attending were completely exhausted from our overnight on Friday, it was a great experience that woke me up from the start. The team spirit in and out of the stands was enormous, and everyone showed up to work and have a great time. Even though rookies had a light load of stuff to do, I was engaged and in team spirit throughout the entirety of the competition. While sitting in the stands, I was impressed with how efficient and composed the drive team and pit crew were during the semi-finals and finals. Winning the System Design Award as well as the Mentor Award for Marta, and being the Champions of CalGames was a great way to end a wonderful competition. I am so proud of the Janksters, or rather, the JankSTARS!!!!

KK Kumar

Class of 2020

On October 7th and 8th, we attended the off-season competition Calgames, hosted by the Western Regional Robotics Forum.  After the success from Chezy Champs, everyone was super excited and ready to see the robot perform well.  Although I spent most of the competition in the pits as I was on drive team, I could see the happiness and enthusiasm from our team in the stands.  I was also glad to see that the rookies were beginning to feel more included and more a part of the team than they were when they first joined.  The level of excitement only increased as the competition progressed, with the team continuing on to eliminations with Team 1868 the Space Cookies and Team 3045 The Gear Gremlins. Several matches later, our alliance were declared the champions of the 2016 Calgames! To top it off, we also won the Systems Design Award for our scaling mechanism, and our coach, Marta Carrillo, won the Mentor Award. This was by far the most exciting competition that I have attended, and through all the dancing, anticipation, and success we experienced, the team was brought closer together.  It truly was the best way to end our busy and successful Stronghold season and begin our 2016 to 2017 robotics year.

Miyo Imai

Class of 2018

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

Competing at Chezy Champs

On September 24 and 25, I had the opportunity to attend my very first robotics competition, Chezy Champs, at Bellarmine. I had no idea what to expect, but from the moment I entered the room, I found the excitement electrifying. I spent my day doing so many different things, such as scouting, interacting with other teams, cheering in the stands, watching our robot compete, and pitching in and unloading the van at NDSJ after the competition was over. From rookies to veterans, we worked together as a team to accomplish our goals. It was rewarding to see that everyone’s contributions played a part in our placement in the quarter-finals.
Maddie Waldie
Class of 2020

Chezy Champs went really well for the Janksters. We didn’t lose robot communications once during the competition, and our robot scaled seven times. I spent the entirety of Chezy Champs in the pits, repairing the robot between matches and resetting the scaling mechanism. I really enjoyed getting to compete with “The Best of the West,” and I’m really proud that we held our own. I can’t wait to go again next year.

Julia Hunt

Class of 2018

Robotics Boot Camp/ New Year

Joining the Janksters was the best decision I made in my freshman year. Since the first year of high school is normally just a taste test of all the different options, I sampled more than one extracurricular activity. Trying Performance Choir, Filipino Cultural Dance, and Robotics at the same time is not an easy task, but thankfully, the team helped me cope with sanity and assured me that everything was going to be fine. During the summer before my rookie year, I attended the Robotics Boot Camp, where I learned some engineering skills and met some people who would eventually be my closest friends. With them, I embarked on adventures during build season and competition season, where I was introduced to button hunting, one of my now favorite things to do at a competition. I’ve decided that this year, as a veteran, Robotics would be my main course, with still some flavors of my performing arts background because the social and technical skills I’ve gained by meeting other teams and building the robot itself are characteristics that will eventually help me in the future. Although many say that sophomore year is no longer like the bright and easy path of the freshmen, I am really looking forward to the challenges and successes that we will accomplish this year. Let’s go Janksters!

Jayel Ambat

Class of 2019

Boot camp was an amazing experience for me! We learned many essentials in each robotics category. The freshmen were taught how to CAD, how to safely use power tools, what the marketing team did, and about Arduino. My favorite parts were learning to CAD and to use power tools. We also did many bonding activities like “never have I ever”. These were great ways to connect with other Janksters. Towards the end, we worked in groups to create a Rube Goldberg project promoting teamwork and creativity. It was a fun and educational week!

Maya Kesapradist

Class of 2020


Recognition Luncheon

The event started with food—including a delicious make-your-own taco bar—and student leaders giving overviews on how the build season went and why we appreciate all the help we receive. We also watched videos that were full of hilarity and sincerity. My mother even received a special recognition for all her help with coordinating food and meals throughout the build and competition season. Overall, the event went very smoothly and I appreciate how it is a final transition for the graduating seniors to be recognized one more time for all their hard work in robotics.

Gillian McGinnis

Class of 2018

Silicon Valley Regional (SVR)

From the cheering in the stands, to all the incredible robots, to even the avid button collecting, the excitement at SVR was contagious. I spent my time at SVR rotating between scouting, data entry, and programming, however I also fun going to the “FIRST Day” Nvidia hosted at their tech conference. It was really rewarding to be able to see our robot compete, especially seeing it scale the tower. And at the end of the competition, winning the Spirit Award and getting to high five the long line of judges was definitely a great note to end the regional on!

Anisha Kabir

Class of 2019

I had a great time at SVR, seeing all of the other robots and competing with all of the other teams. Although we did have some communication problems in the beginning of the competition, thanks to the help of a countless number of teams and individuals, we were able to figure out our problems and perform well out on the field. The entire team was so excited to see Cierra breach, scale, and defend in our last matches, and our energy definitely skyrocketed. When we won the spirit award at the end of SVR, it was great to see all of the team members’ excitement as they rushed to high five the judges. SVR was a great experience and I was so happy to see all of the growth Cierra and the team members went through.

Paulina Robles

Class of 2017

End of Build Season

My first build season as a part of Team 1967 was certainly an experience that I never would have had, hadn’t I joined Robotics. As a part of the Programming Committee, one of the main things we had to do before starting to work on our code was to go talk to the other committees to get a sense of which components we needed to program. At first, this task seemed very daunting to me, as I am naturally a very shy person, but after a while, I noticed that talking to others seemed to get easier and easier. Now, it doesn’t bother me at all to go talk to members of other committees, which is a rather large accomplishment for me. My favorite part of build season was Robot Reveal Night, because it was quite gratifying to see that all of our hard work hadn’t been for nothing, and had resulted in a functional robot.

Nandana Suresh

Class of 2019

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