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Robotics Program Determines Careers

Eastlake High's robotics team with "La Fuente," their robot that looks like a fountain
Eastlake High's robotics team with "La Fuente," their robot that looks like a fountain

On Sunday, February 20, students and mentors from all over the county brought their team-designed robots to an exposition at Madison High School. The expo was a last opportunity to prepare the robots for a regional competition to be held March 10–12 at Valley View Casino Center (formerly the San Diego Sports Arena).

The robots are about six feet tall and compete against one another in a game that bears some resemblance to basketball. While trying to hang inflated tubes on elevated bars, the robots block one another and even knock one another over. After the March event, the winning team and their robot will advance to the national finals in St. Louis, Missouri.

Competing high school teams receive the same robot kit but have the ability to make modifications. While the teams (comprised of 30 to 40 students) rely on science and engineering skills, they use a business model to organize themselves. Teams have a CEO, an engineering department, a public relations department, a finance department, and so on.

Jesus Ulloa, a Sweetwater teacher who volunteers, said, “Robotics is about learning your true professional identity.” He said the business community “scouts” and “recruits” from the robotics teams.

Many Eastlake High School students have found their future through this extracurricular activity. Akash Khawate switched his major from medicine to aerospace. CEO Santiago Garza switched from architecture to a double major — electrical engineering and business management. Alec Church says this experience has determined for him that he will major in public relations. And Nahum Garcia says robotics inspired him in the area of graphic design and marketing.

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Eastlake High's robotics team with "La Fuente," their robot that looks like a fountain
Eastlake High's robotics team with "La Fuente," their robot that looks like a fountain

On Sunday, February 20, students and mentors from all over the county brought their team-designed robots to an exposition at Madison High School. The expo was a last opportunity to prepare the robots for a regional competition to be held March 10–12 at Valley View Casino Center (formerly the San Diego Sports Arena).

The robots are about six feet tall and compete against one another in a game that bears some resemblance to basketball. While trying to hang inflated tubes on elevated bars, the robots block one another and even knock one another over. After the March event, the winning team and their robot will advance to the national finals in St. Louis, Missouri.

Competing high school teams receive the same robot kit but have the ability to make modifications. While the teams (comprised of 30 to 40 students) rely on science and engineering skills, they use a business model to organize themselves. Teams have a CEO, an engineering department, a public relations department, a finance department, and so on.

Jesus Ulloa, a Sweetwater teacher who volunteers, said, “Robotics is about learning your true professional identity.” He said the business community “scouts” and “recruits” from the robotics teams.

Many Eastlake High School students have found their future through this extracurricular activity. Akash Khawate switched his major from medicine to aerospace. CEO Santiago Garza switched from architecture to a double major — electrical engineering and business management. Alec Church says this experience has determined for him that he will major in public relations. And Nahum Garcia says robotics inspired him in the area of graphic design and marketing.

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Comments
4

Wait, wait--where are all the other cool teams and warrior bots?

Feb. 22, 2011

Andrew, Just to say there were many fine students and excellent teams. This is a program worth following and I hope to do so in the future.

Feb. 23, 2011

A HUGE and HEARTFELT THANK YOU to Ms. Susan Luzarro for her delightful article on our FIRST Robotics Program! As Mr. Ulloa and many of his students have discovered, “Robotics is about learning your true professional identity.” It is a fascinating "Sport of the Mind" -- a game in which every participant has the opportunity to become a professional and to impact the world for good!

Feb. 24, 2011

LOVE THOSE ROBOTS!! This is such a great program. Great for Boys! Great for Girls! If you have a son or daughter, a grandson or a grandaughter you should learn more about FIRST Robotics. Sandy Hodge introduced Robotics at a CROSSROADS THIRD THURSDAY BREAKFAST several years ago and we became their fans. They are coming back in March.

Feb. 25, 2011

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