Introduction to FRC 2021 Season: M-A’s Robotics Team

Hi, my name is Amelia and I am a sophomore in high school based in Menlo Park, California. I am very involved in promoting computer science in my community through robotics and computer science clubs. I help lead the Menlo-Atherton High School’s Robotics Team that participates in the First Robotics Competition (FRC) every year.

A typical season consists of 16-hour weeks working tirelessly to brainstorm, prototype, build, and, my favorite part, program our robot. The image below highlights our robot from the 2020 season – Infinite Recharge. The objective was to design a robot that could work with an alliance to shoot foam balls into a variety of goals for points and balance a monkey bar, called the Shield Generator, for end game. I specifically worked on the hook mechanism; I designed a hook that could lift the robot up, and then move along the monkey bar in order to balance it. 

Our robot for the 2020 Infinite Recharge season
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Team ‘It’s Spelt Bolognese’: UCT to SCC

By Leanne January, student at the University of Cape Town

I was introduced to the Student Cluster Competition by Jehan, one of the members of the previous UCT team who had won the competition last year (2018). Fresh off their win, Jehan came to my Computer Science lecture in the first week of term to tell us more about the Cluster Competition and encourage us to find a team. We had until April, when the competition sign up opened, to find a team – two of which would be chosen by the SCC to represent UCT. Jehan would act as the mentor for both teams, and he promised lots of workshops before the first round to familiarise all of us with the content we would need to do well. 

At this point, I had just switched faculties and didn’t know any of my Computer Science peers very well. Although I was interested in the competition, the prospect of finding a team was rather daunting. Luckily for me, one of the requirements of the competition is that every team needs at least one female member – and in a male dominated class there aren’t really a lot of females to choose from. It was not long before I was asked to join a team to which I excitedly agreed. 

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