A Season of Firsts for John Jay’s Robotics Program
From pre reqs to Competition, Program grows & diversifies
Students in John Jay’s robotics lab gather around utility tables by function, their high-tech tools a counterpoint to the jam music from another era that fills the room. The coders focus on laptops, finessing the robots’ autonomous code. Builders group at other tables: one team straightens their robot’s webcam, the other attaches a new 3D-printed funnel to their robot’s grabber.
It’s the final week before John Jay’s four robotics teams—Mechanical Operations Bureau (the MOB), Super Monkey Robo Team (SMRT), Super Awesome Robot (SAR) and Tin Diesel—compete in the John Jay Robot Rumble on December 10. It’s their first robotics competition of the season and the first home event that John Jay’s robotics program has hosted.
Critical thinking and collaboration
building from a more diverse base
But that’s not the only milestone the program is celebrating. This is the first year that female participation has hit 20 percent. “In the past, it has been one or two female students per year,” said Jonathan Peter, the school’s robotics teacher. The program is building from a more diverse base in Computer Science 1 and 2—the prerequisite for robotics.
“The presence of women in STEM is awesome!” said senior Rachel Lewis, a member of the MOB which includes as many girls as boys. “I'm looking forward to increased representation in the future. All our female members except me are juniors, so we will have great veterans to teach the team next year.”
Another first--grant funding
First Home Event
At the John Jay Robot Rumble, high school robotics teams from the Edgemont, Ossining, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, Wappingers and Warwick School Districts will compete in autonomous and driver-controlled objectives. The friendly competition is a warm-up for the Peekskill Qualifier on January 14, 2023, which sends winners to NY Excelsior Regional MVCC Championship at Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica, in March 2023.
Last summer, John Jay’s growing robotics program received a $12,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation. The robotics competitions are part of FIRST Tech Challenge, through which students in grades 7–12 design, build and program robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams.