A TEDx Talk for Inspiration and Recognition of… STEAM Education in Gen Z!
This fall, Nemesis 2590 was honored with an invitation to present a TEDx talk at Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst, discussing their success in getting students involved in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). The event was attended by about 150 eager listeners and dozens of other speakers, from scientists to soldiers. Between presentations, musical entertainers performed for the crowd.
The TED program (Technology, Engineering, and Design) is a world-renowned nonprofit dedicated to spreading new ideas throughout the global community. This TEDx event was independently organized by a hardworking team at led by Colonel Cynthia Wong at Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Nemesis received an invitation in late August and quickly assembled a team of experienced members to prepare our presentation. They immediately recognized the significance of the opportunity. The topic was simple, and seemingly straightforward: “How does Nemesis inspire Generation Z to get involved in STEAM?” Generation Z, today’s young adults, have a uniquely intimate connection to technology. Gen Z children were the first to be born in the digital age. As such, they have grown used to immediate gratification, unceasing “connection” to the outside world, and ease of access to the internet.
In the earliest stages of development, the question of inspiration seemed straightforward, but the team soon ran into some unexpected challenges. What began as a simple answer drifted off topic as the writers tried to capture the spirit of our team-- the camaraderie and friendship that draws so many interested students into the RHS Tech Lab. Inspiration is an abstract concept.
With the help of their advisors, the writers gradually realized why Nemesis is inspiring: Team 2590 caters to the needs of today’s teens because they are today’s teens. For an impressionable young man or woman, who is more relatable than a student their own age? When a teenager sees their contemporaries doing something they could only dream of, inspiration is inevitable. With this in mind, the writers took to the drawing board one last time. The final draft not only captured the spirit of the team, but also helped the writers truly understand and appreciate the value of their work, and the investment of their mentors and advisors. It became a twofold learning experience; an external study of Generation Z, and an internal study of the workings of Nemesis.
On Tuesday, October 24, the four writers-- and soon to be presenters--, Emily Marsch, Amanda Quon, Nick Anderson, and Mariko McMurtry, were dressed to impress. That morning, they left school early with mentors Joy Wolfe and Karen Young, and a small robot drive team (Charlie D'Amico, James Aikins, Niratjot Grewal, and Harsha Pavuluri). Upon arrival at the base, they squeezed in a brief rehearsal before the event began. Ever calm and collected, time seemed to fly by as Emily, Amanda, Nick, and Mariko waited backstage, silently rehearsing the speech in their heads. Suddenly, one of the event coordinators leaned around the doorway and urgently whispered, “You’re up!” The walk out to the stage seemed surreal; the robot crew moved mechanically as they looked out at the audience, taking everything in. Time seemed to stop for a moment, and then the speakers began.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. We are Amanda, Emily, and Nick of the Robbinsville High School FIRST Robotics team, Nemesis. Now, if we asked you to think of a robot, you might imagine one of these…”
Emily began with a lighthearted introduction, bringing the audience members back to their childhood as she talked about the rift-- of culture and time-- that separates Generation Z from Gen X and Gen Y. The audience was attentive, polite, and quick to laugh at jokes, helping the presenters relax as they spoke. Time, which seemed to slow before, passed in leaps and bounds as the speakers transitioned seamlessly from one point to another. As the speakers lined up with Bellerophon to take a bow, the audience erupted into cheers and applause. Following their presentation, the team fielded questions and networked with fellow speakers and audience members, many of whom were impressed by team and the FIRST program as a whole. Some of the younger audience members had competed in FIRST when they were in high school; they were amazed to see how the program has grown.
Nemesis would like to thank Colonel Cynthia Wong of the United States Air Force, Mr. Mangano of NAVAIR, and all those who supported us at TEDx: Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. We sincerely appreciate everything you did for us, and it was a pleasure working with you!
Below is a link to Navair's article about the event:
Robotics Technology In Action: Nemesis Tours NAVAIR
On June 5, 2016, FIRST Robotics Team Nemesis 2590 traveled to the US Naval Air Engineering Center in Lakehurst, NJ, to tour the NAVAIR robotics lab and facilities. Naval Air Systems, a key sponsor for the team, develops aircraft propulsion and arrestment techniques for use on the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers, as well as autonomous robotics systems that can accomplish certain tasks aboard ships at sea. After attending Nemesis’ Sponsor Networking Night, NAVAIR’s outreach manager, Mr. Gaetan Mangano, kindly invited the team to the base, where they were able to see the same technology they use every year to compete being applied in a professional field.
Upon arrival, Mr. Mangano led the team in for a presentation on the basics of NAVAIR’s technology, showcasing the broad spectrum of engineering careers essential to designing, building, and maintaining technology for the Navy. Following the presentation, students were a challenged to test their design skills in a catapult competition! Nemesis divided up into teams of three to design and build their own rudimentary catapults out of sticks, marshmallows, and masking tape.
After building, Nemesis was given a rare opportunity to tour the facilities of the Navy’s Hangar One, where the NAVAIR lab was located.The hangar itself was an engineering marvel, built on a gigantic scale, which once housed the German LZ-129 Hindenburg before it exploded during a docking incident at the facility in 1937. The team visited a scaled-down aircraft carrier runway in the hangar, and the robotics lab itself.
In the lab, Nemesis members were thrilled when the software engineers demonstrated one of their projects-- a robotic munitions cart to be used on aircraft carriers. Better yet, they even let students drive the robot and find bugs in the code! It was a remarkable insight into the work of real robotics engineers in industry, greatly appreciated by the aspiring engineers of Nemesis. Robot driver Christian Gavalchin said, “I was blown away by the familiarity of the NAVAIR lab-- it was so similar to the work we do! That was awesome to see.”
When the tours were over, the team ate lunch and launched their catapults before returning to the lab for the last activity of the day-- their own presentation! Nemesis Build Team members demonstrated their robots, Bellerophon and Daedalus, to NAVAIR Engineers, while the Marketing Team detailed the complex business and financial challenges of a successful competition season, something that that many of the engineers knew all too well from their own work.
NAVAIR employees seemed just as impressed with the accomplishments of Nemesis as the team members were with them. It was a thrilling and inspiring experience for the team, who extends their thanks to Mr. Mangano and his welcoming coworkers. Thank you to NAVAIR, for your generous sponsorship, and also your invitation to tour a real-life robotics lab! Your investment in the future will return great rewards.
2016 Week 4: Build Journal
As week 4 is coming to a close and the competition season is just around the corner, the build team's productivity levels are still going strong. As prototyping is officially over, most of the build team has started to work on the final robot. We are working wholeheartedly to make sure that the robot will be completed in time to ensure our drivers get to practice before bag and tag.
This week we worked on milling the final parts of the drivetrain. The exec team is evaluating their options for the electrical board and requirements for the drivetrain.
The complex game obstacles are giving us a run for our money. The intake and shooter have final designs and have been tested on a practice bot.
During Week 4, everyone, from freshmen to seniors, was hard at work developing the robot.
2016 Competition Dates
Build season is coming to a close, and competition season is right around the corner. Nemesis invites you to come to any of the free high energy tournaments the team will be competing in...
Hatboro-Horsham District Competition: March 5 - 6, 2016
Hatboro-Horsham High School
899 Horsham Rd, Horsham, PA 19044
Seneca District Competition: March 19 - 20, 2016
Seneca High School
110 Carranza Rd, Tabernacle, NJ 08088
2016 South Florida Regional: April 1 - 2, 2016
Palm Beach Convention Center
650 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
We hope to qualify for:
FIRST Mid-Atlantic District Championship: April 14 – 16, 2016
Stabler Arena, Lehigh University
124 Goodman Dr, Bethlehem, PA 18015
2016 FIRST Championship: April 28 - 30, 2016
Edward Jones Dome
901 N Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63101
2016 Week 4: Marketing Journal
Week 4 of Build Season can be described by one word for the Business Team: Perfection! Nemesis’ Annual Sponsor Networking Night was held on Wednesday, February 3rd. Weeks of preparation went into ensuring this evening was a huge success. This week Business Team members mentored the Build Team members in public speaking and presenting, ensuring that they would uphold Nemesis’ reputation for excellence.
Nemesis presented their successful 2015 season and this year’s progress to the team's previous and potential sponsors along with team parents. Assemblyman and avid Nemesis supporter Dan Benson tweeted, “Great job by everyone tonight! Awesome challenge ahead, confident you're up to the task!” Many of the sponsors and parents complimented team members for their organization, professionalism, and poise. Nemesis is incredibly grateful to all of their sponsors.
In other news, the week was spent finishing up the Chairman’s Award, the Woodie Flowers Award, and the Entrepreneurship Award. The team really came together to get it all done!
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 email@example.com.
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.