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Sponsor Networking Event 2016

With the commotion of the 2016 FIRST Robotics build season at an all time high, Robbinsville High School’s (RHS) Robotics Team Nemesis FRC 2590, held their annual Sponsor Networking Night on Wednesday, February 3rd to demonstrate their gratuity and appreciation for their generous sponsors and parents. The evening showcased Nemesis’ culture, the 2015 season, and a look towards 2016. Chief Financial Officer Colin Riley and Chief Operations Officer Juhi Rajgopal gave a presentation familiarizing sponsors with the team’s financial status. Meanwhile, in the RHS Technology Lab, Senior Build Executive/Drive Coach Parth Mandrekar and Safety Captain Charlie D’Amico educated attendees on the 2016 FRC Challenge, FIRST Stronghold and on the progress and design of the 2016 robot.

Following the presentation, Mr. Gaetan Mangano of NAVAIR announced, “I was blown away by how well-organized and thoughtful this event was. I’m incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm everyone has shown on this team.”

The Marketing Team coached Build Team members on public speaking and presentation skills ensuring they uphold Nemesis’ reputation for excellence. The hours dedicated to preparing for Sponsor Networking Night paid off. The evening was an unquestionable success.

Robbinsville Town Council member Dan Schuberth was beyond impressed by Nemesis, “I wanted to thank you for the warm welcome and wonderful presentation at Wednesday evening's event. I was so impressed by the organization, professionalism, and passion demonstrated by every single person I met. You folks have built a powerhouse organization, and I am confident that you'll be successful in this year's challenge.”

For new team members this is an event like nothing they have experienced before. Freshman Marketing Team member Ethan Silberberg gives an impeccable description of his participation in Sponsor Networking Night, “It was amazing to talk to successful business executives and have them recognize us as a force to be reckoned with.”

Nemesis’ 2016 Sponsor Networking Night was a success, which can be attributed to all of the sponsors and parents and their continued belief in Nemesis.  For that, Nemesis would like to give a special thanks to: Robbinsville High School, Navair, New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CCL Label, Lockheed Martin, Investors Bank, Siemens, Robbinsville Education Association, RAS Process Equipment, Evans Analytical Group, Princeton Sports and Family Medicine, The McGraw Hill Financials, Carfaro, Robbinsville Education Foundation, Gilbane, Designtree, Northstar Vets, SRI International, Triangle Copy, Coldwell Banker, as well as the Friends and Family of Nemesis.

If you are interested in supporting Nemesis or would like additional information, please contact Team Advisor Joy Wolfe at


2016 Week 3: Marketing Journal

It's hard to believe week three is already coming to a close! All week, the Marketing Team has scrambled to add the finishing touches for its annual Sponsor Networking Night! Ribbon and other decorative touches were added to the recently updated showcase, making it appear more beautiful than ever. New pictures were printed and added to the Chairman’s board to showcase all we have done since the past season when the judges last laid eyes on it. Our business plan and Chairman's Award submissions have come a long way recently, in preparation for their due date later this week. Meanwhile, the Finance Team busied themselves contacting current and potential sponsors via cold calls and emails.

The Sponsor Networking Night presentation was completed and is now ready for sponsor viewing. Additionally, our Web Team took official photographs of each subteam along with diligently working on the script for this year’s Chairman's Award video. The Logistics Team had their work cut out for them while continuing to book travel information for our upcoming trips to South Florida, and hopefully St. Louis.

Girls on the team had an especially exciting week filled with a trip to the spa alongside a few of our team mentors. They also visited the NARS makeup counter at Lord & Taylor where they all had their makeup done by professional makeup artists to give our girls a fresh new look in preparation for Sponsor Night.



Through The Eyes of the Freshmen: 2011 Season

A Creative Piece by Our Freshmen Team Members

Freshmen are the newest kids to join the Robotics team.  We have now survived our first season of the legendary Build.  *cue epic music – Lord of the Rings soundtrack* We spent more time in this school, in this room, than we did with our family, our homes, and even our beds.  We slept for only a few hours, ate only when we were told, and bathed not quite frequently enough.  Instead, we were here –writing our name, our legacies into the making of the 2011 robot.

It all started during the pre season.  These nights were short and simple.  We learned the ropes of Gracious Professionalism™.   We even had a competition in the pre season.  Our hearts were bold and our minds were strong.  We made new friends, fought old enemies, and experienced victory and defeat.   We helped children and showed them what we were all about.  Then the days of happiness ended and we traveled to the Mad Land of Montgomery.  The FIRST Gods spoke of an impending depression that would blanket the world.  We freshmen had no idea what they were speaking of.  A so-called menace, known as “The Build Season” was all we understood and our hearts grew weary.  The team returned to their home of Robbinsville intrigued and hungry.  Unfortunately, a few could not handle the pressure.  They fled the land and became outcasts to the team – merely peasants that would come and go on short occasions.  Their names were lost to the sands of time.

These were dark times for 2590 Nemesis. The Ancient Beast, Andy, the 2010 robot, refused to communicate with our new tools.  As we struggled to test our new code, the build team failed to sort through the massive sea of ideas. But through the darkness, hope arrived. In the third week, software had a breakthrough. The old robot awoke. With this new opportunity to test our software, our code grew. The software team strove ahead, while build struggled behind.

With only two weeks left, people were getting worried.  They buckled down to work and soon rediscovered the forgotten pneumatics.  They created the claw which was the weapon needed to fight their enemies.  The robot was coming together.  The monster was being brought to life. There were only so many days left and the final touches were needed.

The last (extended) weekend (Thank you dead presidents)– those four days were spent working.    From the crack of dawn to 11:00 at night, we worked. We worked with all of the determined dedication that we could muster. We attempted to finish in time for a pre-challenge skirmish, but this deadline passed us. Still, we worked. On the final day, without hours to spare, we achieved victory. Everything fell into place, the robot could drive with the grace of a deer, and it could autonomously accomplish its great task.  We had won.  We are the freshmen.


Bristol-Myers Squibb Presents Grant Award to Team Nemesis


The Robbinsville Board of Education graciously accepted a Bristol-Myers Squibb $6000 grant for the FIRST Robotics Team 2590 on January 25, 2011. Bristol-Myers Squibb proudly supports programs, like FIRST Robotics, that educate young men and women in science, engineering, technology, and business, allowing them to explore their creativity while having fun. Come see the team in action at the Sun National Bank Center,Trenton,NJ on March 4 and 5 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Washington D.C. on March 25 and 26. Admission is free at both events.

This year’s competition is LOGO MOTION where six teams battle to pick up large inflatable tubes and hang them on 9 feet tall stanchions. During the last 10 seconds of the game, teams launch mini-bots to zip up a 10 feet pole for bonus points.  Pictured from left to right: Eric Principato, CEO of Team 2590, presents the check to Mr. Michael Reca, Board of Education President, and Mr. Steven Mayer, Superintendent.


Students from Team 2590 Help Lead the Way at Rowan University

Glassboro, NJ - Seven students from Robbinsville High School’s Project Lead the Way program (5 of which are members of Team Nemesis) were invited to participate in The 2010 Guidance Counselor Conference at Rowan University today. The conference was designed to provide an overview of PLTW and training for counselors in active PLTW schools. Thirty guidance counselors and technology teachers from across the state attended the conference.

The Robbinsville students led three sessions demonstrating examples of what they learned in their PLTW class, Principles of Engineering. Each session started with a presentation that provided a class overview and examples of final projects. The presentation was followed by a practical demonstration – the counselors and teachers were challenged to design a bridge out of paper that would span a gap between two tables and support the greatest amount of weight. The teachers received some tips from the students and were able to make bridges that supported over twenty pounds by using only three sheets of paper.  Guidance counselors who were looking to add Project Lead the Way courses to their schools were able to get a feel for the courses and ask questions of students who had actually taken the classes.

After completing the three sessions, the Robbinsville PLTW students were able to tour the engineering campus at Rowan and the South Jersey Technology Park.  The first stop was the Virtual Reality Applications Center where the students were treated to a demonstration of the CAVE. The CAVE, a fully immersive virtual reality system that can be used for gaming, but more importantly, it can be used for problem analysis of remote locations.  Data is sent to the system and a place, such as an aircraft carrier at sea is recreated.  This is useful because the program analyzes the data enabling an engineer to identify any problems without flying to the aircraft carrier.

The next stop on the tour was a nano-engineering lab where students from Rowan were attempting to create a new semiconductor technology.  They were using plasma to create a material called grapheme, a carbon-based material that is only a few atoms thick! 

The final stop on the tour was at the FocalCool lab.  FocalCool is developing a catheter that cools the heart to help prevent cell damage during a heart attack. They hope to extend this technology to treat strokes and traumatic brain injuries as well.

The day at Rowan University provided students with the opportunity to peer into their academic future in addition to the opportunity to help teachers and guidance counselors better understand how Project Lead the Way will enhance the future learning in their own school districts.


About Us | 2008-2009

It felt like a second “rookie” year when our 2008 seniors graduated and we started the year with a young team of juniors fresh from their Principles of Engineering class and excited freshmen ready step up to the big league of FRC.•• After a phenomenal first year, with great expectations and the pride of the community focused on us, we fortunately experienced an influx of new members and mentors as we continued to build on the startup high tech business model.• The finance and marketing team flourished, the software team emerged, and the Build team was buoyed with mechanical and software talents.

After the 2009 Lunacy kick-off, we rushed back to the Tech Lab to unpack the Kit of Parts and brainstorm and quickly converged on the same design.• Financed by a second year NASA grant and funding by our school district with minimal extra money to spend, we prototyped in cardboard and designed a slow but steady robot with a distinctive look that gathers balls from the floor and shoots them into the trailer of an opponent.• With our international team of mentors, we oscillated between the American High School student “brute force, seat of the pants, let’s give it a try and see if it works” design philosophy versus the professional, orderly, “design it with a CAD system before you cut anything”.• It was an education for both students and mentors.•• Our UK engineering mentor took a crash course in American and we learned the professional engineering method.•• Despite the learning curve, the conveyor belt slowly emerged and Sheldon was created.• Second to that “old school versus high school” culture clash, the most difficult part was designing a conveyor belt with a roller to scoop the balls from the ground.

Sheldon was a ball spitting, tank-drive machine that skates over the slick surface to gobble moon rocks and shoot them into the other team’s trailers.• Wafting the ball with a swish and a score, our human players scored from behind the barriers or from a sitting position on the side. We competed in the New Jersey Regional and went to Atlanta, Georgia for the Championship.• For some, this was their first long distance trip with a High School team and it was late nights, floor hockey and the awe of seeing the best teams in the nation.• We were grateful to have a 22 year old college mentor, who burned the midnight oil playing video games and floor hockey into the wee hours of the morning with the Scout team. Meanwhile, the “early to bed, early to rise” Pit crew and Drive team had breakfast at 6am with Mr. Wolfe and opened the Pits.  The competition was exciting; we worked hard and played hard.

The Finance and Marketing teams continued to grow and flex their wings: balancing the books, writing the Business Plan, polishing the Chairman’s Award with out community service projects and fundraising efforts.  Professionally polished with hours of practice, the team won the 2009 Entrepreneurship Award for their efforts.  Recognized as a model start-up company, our team had a great year.



About Us | 2007-2008

During the late spring of 2007, a group of determined rising seniors asked Mrs. Wolfe, the new Technology teacher at Robbinsville High School (RHS), to please start a FIRST Robotics Team. They either had relatives or friends on local teams and wanted to start an academic tradition at their three year young high school. Nemesis, FRC 2590 was created when the “stars” came into alignment during November 2008, Chris Gregory, the Hightstown FRC 1089 mentor, Paul Kloberg, Michael Reffler, Sara Reffler, NJ FIRST Senior Mentors, and Gene O’Brien of the NJ Society of Professional Engineers, came to RHS offering their support. 

It all fell in place when NASA awarded the team a $6,000 Rookie grant.  In December, we embarked into the unknown that filled us with terror and joy as we scrambled to earn money for robot parts and learn as much as possible, reading all available documentation and websites, picking the brain of the mentors, and attending workshops.  Team Mercury 1089 loaned us their old robot to study and use for fund raising efforts, in addition to giving workshops.  We went to the kick-off in January with high hopes and a bit of healthy fear about the build season ahead.

For the next six weeks, we spent every night and weekend in the Tech Lab at RHS bonding as a team and creating a team culture similar to a high tech start-up company.   Everyone eventually found their place.  It was serendipity that Michael Arak took one look at our box of receipts and proceeded to create detailed financial books and spreadsheets as our Chief Financial Officer and Operations Manager, keeping the team afloat.  Mark Panes, our Chief Executive Officer, with his infectious smile and positive attitude kept us on track and motivated.  Steven Rutsky and Rida Alvi came into their own as the Chief Technology Officer and Director of Research and Development.  Our mentors were amazing, everyone worked together to create the robot and the team.

Initially, the Build team didn’t know how to build a chassis; all of the pieces in the Kit of Parts were just that….pieces. We were clueless but happy to have mentors that were just as enthusiastic but inexperienced with the FIRST program.  After the first week, the Cavalry arrived as Mr. Ed Petrillo, Mr. Chris Gregory, Mr. Michael Reffler, Ms. Sara Reffler, Mr. Matt Palmere and Mr. Ed Healey walked into the Tech Lab and started working with us, offering practical advice on the mechanics and software.  Marco’s signature saying during the build season was “Do work, son” and we worked. 

There is a bond that grows from adversity.  We brainstormed, prototyped, bounced back from mistakes, and ran debriefing session, while implement the design cycle.  Working alongside professionals, the students learned about their various professions, absorbed their work methods, and honed the practical application of their skill sets.  It was a time of minimal sleep and total dedication.

The Marketing team documented the Nemesis story as they wrote the Chairman’s Award, created the team PowerPoint, and marketing materials.  We practiced giving presentations, answering questions on the fly, and learning how to interact with all types of personalities.  Dressed in business attire, we gave presentations to the Board of Education, the local Businesses, and the Robbinsville Education Foundation asking for their support.  The community responded with great enthusiasm and monetary contributions.  On a wing and a prayer, we built our simple, reliable robot and went to the 2008 New Jersey Regional Competition.

To our amazement, Blaine Zaffos and Mark Panes drove our robot through 8 undefeated seeding rounds, placing us as the third highest team.  Rob Hyams and his team of scouts identified our alliance partners: MORT, Mount Olive High School and Aberdeen High School of Aberdeen, Maryland .   We made it to the Finals!  During the awards ceremony, Nemesis FRC 2590 won the prestigious “Rookie All Star,” “Highest scoring Rookie,” and the “Finalist” awards and invited to the National Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.   We were thrilled; it was more than we ever expected.

The Robbinsville community rallied to our cause and the donations came pouring in as the story of our success was published in the newspaper.  We went to the Nationals and met teams from all over the world.  It was a once-in-a- lifetime experience. 

Our seniors graduated and are now attending top universities and colleges with majors in Engineering, Computer Science, and Business.  They received scholarships and made lasting friendships and left a legacy of excellence.


TCHS Rolls In Robotics Contest


TRENTON -- Local teams performed strongly at this year's New Jersey Regional FIRST Robotics Competition at Sovereign Bank Arena, with Trenton Central High School taking top tournament honors and Robbinsville High School's rookie team coming in second yesterday.

Each team's win was shared with fellow alliance members, teams they cooperated with during the tournament. Trenton Central shared its Regional Competition championship with allies North Brunswick Township High School and Palisades High School of Kintnerville, Pa. Robbinsville High shared its Regional Finalist Award with Mount Olive High School and Aberdeen High School of Aberdeen, Md.

Robbinsville High also took home the Rookie All-Star and Highest Rookie Seed awards.

"We are just very thrilled," Joy Wolfe, faculty adviser for the Robbinsville team, said. "We're still finding out what these students can do as a team, and this was very unexpected. They were so excited."

"I think we were all surprised that we did so well," Rida Alvi, Robbinsville High team leader, said.

The team did not receive its first endorsement until November, when it won a $6,000 grant from NASA, just two months before kits for the New Jersey Regional competition were sent out. According to Wolfe, the team received a great deal of guidance during the fundraising process from Hightstown High School's robotics club. Hightstown High took home the Gracious Professionalism award after it was nominated by Robbinsville High.

Wolfe said involvement in the robotics team has been a life-altering experience for some students.

"We've had a lot of interest from students who leaned to the art side because this follows the same progression as an art project. This is the first time they've considered going into engineering as a career," Wolfe said.

Karisa Williams, team captain for Trenton Central, had a similar experience.

"I wasn't sure my freshman year whether I wanted to go into art or engineering. Then a friend took me to one of these competitions and I fell in love with it. Now I'm a senior and I'm looking to be an engineer," Williams said.

This year's competition involved a game called "FIRST Overdrive," in which the robots that students designed and built raced around a course attempting to place or throw giant nylon balls over an overpass to score points.

Going into the final rounds, Trenton Central's alliance had scored a regional record 114 points, while Robbinsville High had gone undefeated during two days of competition. But it was ultimately Trenton Central's alliance that stood victorious.

"I think we were able to do well because our robot was built for racing. It was fast, and it earned points that way," said Katelyn Sapio, who worked in the electronics department of the Trenton Central team.

While Trenton Central's alliance beat all other competitors at "FIRST Overdrive," Pascack Valley Regional High School was awarded the Regional Chairman's Award, the competition's most prestigious prize, having been judged as the team with the greatest commitment to spreading passion about science and technology to other schools and communities. As a result, it received a reserved spot in the national finals to be held in Atlanta.