Crossing the Finish Line of 2017/2018 Season with Design Award

Just completed the 2017/2018 VRC (VEX Robotics Competition) season today with the Design Award in the 60 team Open Category at the CREATE US Open Championships. A curiously circuitous path led us to this point, but we are definitely grateful to have gotten here. After a strong start to the VRC season, we reached the mid-point in early January a bit winded and uncertain of how the remainder of the season would finish out. The intricate balancing of family, school, sports, and recovering from the loss of five seniors finally seemed to have caught up with us. Building four robots for four competitions worked well until it didn’t at the 3rd & 4th qualifiers. With the help of long time e5’er, Erin Eagen, we even scratched out enough time to make a unique and witty video entry into the VEX Online challenge in the Girl Powered category. An hour of mentoring on time management was just the kick the our rookie all-boys sibling team, Exit 6 Brobotics, needed to win the top award at the NJ State VEX IQ Championships and qualify for the VEX World Championships.

We finally scaled back our ambitious robotics competition schedule with a renewed focus on learning and effective use of our time. Even with the respite, our 5th robot at our 5th qualifier in February yielded disappointing results. In parallel, as part of a three year effort, we finally gathered enough momentum to contact and recruit over 30 women’s robotics teams and STEM organizations for the 1st ever Women in Engineering Day at the Liberty Science Center, Feb 17, 2018. Great to see the participation rate ramping rapidly for young women in robotics. When we started in 2010, we were among three all-girls teams in NJ among all competition disciplines. Now in 2018, we find ourselves amidst a talented and successful crowd of over 30 young women’s robotics teams in NJ competing in FLL, VEX IQ, WRO, FTC, VRC, RCJ.

Returning to the drawing board with a 6th robot for the VRC NJ State Championships resulted in the Build Award and a moment of redemption. Aside from that, the 5 week run up to the CREATE US Open still gave us ample time to say “Hey…6 wasn’t enough, let’s make a 7th robot!” With a deep breath, we took the 6th robot and unceremoniously lopped off everything from the wheels up to create “Wally”, robot #7. With much of the team embroiled in ACT/SAT prep, the team decision to send only three members turned out to be fortuitous as they were refreshed, effective, and super cool at US Open. The season turned out to be a unexpected testament to effectiveness of unselfish individuals rising to meet the challenge for the overall gain of the team.

We plan to add 1 or 2 team members (9th-12th grades) to the 2018/2019 team. If you are interested, send us a message: e5r AT livingstonrobotics DOT org.

In the meantime, we’ll be resting up and looking forward to the 2018/2019 competition season of learning!

Design Award @ CREATE US Open Championships – Open Category

 

Build Award @ VRC NJ State Championships

1st Annual Women in Engineering Day @ Liberty Science Center with over 30 women’s robotics team and STEM organizations.

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