Programming for success

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Members of the Ballston Spa High School robotics team pose with one of the newest creations, Rosie the robot.

Members of the Ballston Spa High School robotics team pose with one of the newest creations, Rosie the robot.

— For high school students, the competition is similar, but on a much larger scale.

The students are sent a box filled with basic parts to build a robot sized 2-foot by 3-foot in diameter and 3 feet high. They then have six weeks before the first competition in March to design, build and program the robot to the specifications provided. Additional parts can be added that were not in the kit, but those have to be paid for by the students.

“Since this is a real project, they really have to work hard. They can’t just put it aside,” said Greg Roberts, the high school technology and engineering teacher and robotics team advisor. “It helps show them what science and engineering work is really like out there.”

The students log hundreds of hours in preparation to be able to compete and will travel to SUNY IT in Utica for the regional competition.

Senior Jeff Carminati said he got involved several years ago because he enjoyed learning how to manufacture the parts and operate the machinery. “I’m a very hands-on type person,” said the 17-year-old.

Since First Robotics is a national competition, he has made friends from around the world. It has also given him the opportunity to travel. Because of his involvement with the team, he will now be attending Hudson Valley Community College to major in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Manufacturing Processes.

Eleventh-grader Sam Howard also said he hopes to go into engineering after joining the robotics team for design. He often drives the robot at competitions and creates strategies for matches. He said his family loves how dedicated he’s become to the team.

“Whenever I see my family, they are always asking me about the team and how we are doing,” said Howard. “I was even able to get my cousin to join his school’s robotics team.”

Roberts explained, “Really, our main goal is to inspire these kids and increase their involvement in science and technology.”

To learn more visit www.team3044.com.

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