1014 Chairman's Essay, Video

Here is a link to the 2015 Chairman’s video for team 1014 and here is a link to our promo video. At the end of the season we will republish our book on the iTunes store.

Here is a copy of the Chairman’s essay:

To waste is to ignore the benefits that a resource may provide. It is cast away without consideration. Team “Bad Robot” 1014 makes sure to prevent this from happening in every possible way. No matter if it is the talent that incoming freshmen may possess, or opportunities to grow and give back to the community, 1014 always considers all available options, and chooses the one that is the least wasteful.

Team 1014 does not waste talent. Every individual has a place and a say. Our team is split into four sub teams - mechanical, electrical, programming, and Chairman’s. This division allows each team member to reach their full capacity. Members can find where their strengths are and where they are of greatest value. With a team of great size, there’s bound to be great talent, but we don’t let novices get drowned out by the experienced. Early in our season, we break into small groups of 4-8 members during each build session and have each group brainstorm how we want to tackle the challenge. These meetings give each person a chance to be involved and important. They find that even more so in the sub team they choose. We don’t have a single programmer; we have an entire programming team. Sure, Steve may be a senior captain, but Dominic, a freshman, is just as likely to fix the bug in the robot’s arm as Steve. It is this “spread the wealth” mentality that enriches our team.

Team 1014 does not waste time. OK, not much time. Other than the various off-season tournaments we compete in and host throughout the year, the Fall is a crucial starting point for our team. Despite not knowing the game for the season, we still begin to put time and effort towards a successful March and April. Before each build season begins, we host a Training Day to familiarize everyone with robotics. New and prospective members are invited to attend different information sessions about each different sub group, allowing them to gain insight as to what they would like to participate in on the team. Other teams in our area are also welcome to come to the event. We see every second as a chance to utilize potential.

Team 1014 does not waste potential. Like oil or natural gas, potential is a precious resource that should not be squandered. Realizing this, our team does not exclude any possible members. Dublin, Ohio is not a multicultural mecca, yet our team’s racial makeup is highly varied. Our team is Caucasian, African-American, Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern. Our team also consists of several schools, but an outsider could never detect these differences. We have people from all different “cliques”. Athletes, thespians, skaters, artists, science olympiads, school dance queens, mathletes, musicians - anyone is welcome and encouraged to be a part of this dynamic team. Team 1014 is also composed of nearly 50% women, a rarity in a field dominated by men. We pride ourselves on our unity as well as our diversity. “It’s not just about one person,” says senior Anuja Jayanti. “The beginners on our team are just as vital as the seniors. It’s about learning and growing, not just winning.” To avoid wasting any possible talent, we allow members to join at any time - even mid-season. Many of our mentors work to cultivate passion for engineering in younger students by advising FLL teams. Our team never turns down a hopeful member because our talent lies in our uniquely composed team.

Team 1014 does not waste opportunities. Anytime and anyplace we can share FIRST and its ideals, we do. This is because we see the value and importance that FIRST has to offer. We have bins around the city to collect old cell phones and encourage recycling technology. We allow our robots to extend as a facet of our team by promoting them around our community. We have taken them to show off at high school basketball games and Kroger marketplaces. We create lesson plans pertaining to STEM during eWeek for students at 14 local elementary schools. Sometimes, team members get to go into the schools and do the activities with students. This really personalizes our outreach experiences, as we get to see the spark in a child’s eye ignite firsthand. We participate in Dublin’s 4th of July parade, where we distribute any leftover eWeek kits that we have, rather than wasting them. Last year, we began to build and sell microscopes to schools in the greater Columbus area. This cheap yet effective technology, comprised mostly of plywood, plexiglass, and a smartphone, is advantageous for underprivileged schools that could not obtain them otherwise. This year, we’ve also initiated a child mobility project where we aim to adapt motorized vehicles into learning tools for young children who cannot interact with their environment. We hope to allow these children to develop valuable spatial skills without the monetary strain of wheelchairs.

We also don’t expend energy when it comes to paying it forward. Our team has a myriad of invaluable mentors. They are students, alumni, and successful engineers. More than 15 mentors are alumni of our team this year, and six are OSU students. 15 other alumni mentor in several locations across the nation. Currently 8 students also mentor FLL teams to build Bad Robot’s future early, and they are achieving big: junior Manu Singhal recently won the Young Mentor of the Year award for FLL. The FIRST community has also been enriched by our means. We host an annual FLL tournament at one of the local high schools, and this year, 36 team members and 8 mentors helped out while 3 volunteered their time this fall at the Metro FLL tournament.

We don’t misuse this experience with FIRST and FRC. Obviously, our team itself is STEM centered, but being a part of the team makes its members that way as well. Participating in FRC has changed the trajectory of our lives. 90% of the 240 people that have come through Team 1014 have gone on to pursue STEM fields in their collegiate and professional endeavours. The skills and passions first uncovered here remain with us for the rest of our lives and has opened so many doors. Many of our alumni attribute their experience in FIRST to their engineering successes, and Jeremy Hong (‘13) is no exception. He has turned his interest and talents in technology into a career. He and his business, Hong Electronics, were featured in an issue of FRC’s Newsletter last year, and this year, he is interning at Sierra Nevada Corporation, one of America’s private aerospace electronics providers. Another alumnus and mentor, Kelly Helmreich (‘13), is also interning at a major STEM company, Google.

Team 1014 does not waste our partnerships. Because of the commitment our sponsors have given us, we are able to commit to FIRST and perform the way we do. Team 1014 is grateful for the influences that The Ohio State University, Honda, American Electric Power, and so many more have had on our team. It is through partnerships like these that sophomore team member Morgan Brandt says she has most seen the ideals of FIRST displayed: “FIRST has taught me that your competitors are not enemies. That’s how it tends to be in sports, but here, since we all have the same goal, it is completely normal and even encouraged to lend a hand to others. I love that sense of unity and respect that is found in the practice of Gracious Professionalism.” Our team has worked to make this difference known in others’ lives through our creation of CORI. CORI stands for Central Ohio Robotics Initiative, and since its creation, it has helped start or nurture 8 FRC teams and has continued to collaborate with these younger teams. Our school also hosts 31 teams at the CORI FIRST Robotics Invitational, an off-season tournament.

We don’t waste the resources that our community offers. We are aware that we live in a privileged city and we don’t take that for granted. Because our district has decent funding, we have been able to partner with the high school to create an alternative learning curriculum that spreads and promotes the ideals of FIRST. It is called Engineering Academy, and we started it two years ago. The program allows a high school teacher to pair up with a college professor to teach college level math and engineering classes for nearly half of the school day. This allows students that are interested in pursuing a college engineering education to “test the water” and see if it is the right fit, or get ahead in their studies. Either way, it has served to spread the word about the importance of STEM fields. One of our ongoing goals is to increase the number of women in our district that expressed an interest in engineering, and STEM sisters is one way that we are achieving this goal. A member of our own team, junior Deepthi Thumuluri, has also been committed to this mission and teams up with a couple math teachers in the district to accomplish it. Formed in 2014, the club is open to any female student interested in math, science, or engineering and gives members a chance to hear and learn from female professionals and gain many hands-on experiences. We have been successful thus far, and hope to continue growing as a team without misusing resources.

Throughout every aspect of the season, Team 1014 promotes no waste. It does so with a goal to spread a love for STEM and FIRST’s message in our community. Each year, Bad Robot strives to further our outreach and make sure that expectations are exceeded in all ways. Due to having such a large team, we have the benefit of having a larger communal impact as a whole than three individual high school teams. It also allows for more diversity, and with a large university, such as OSU, being close to us, alumni can continue to come back and mentor to make sure that everyone gets involved. This diversity and constant focus on involvement, outreach, and preventing waste makes what we do unique, and allows us to spread our passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics throughout our community, inspiring others to lead the way for future progress.

Thank you for sharing - I really like the ‘no waste’ theme in the essay. You’ve got a fantastic program, and best of luck presenting!