FULTON, MD – A group of students, parents, and teachers will gather at the gym of Bullis School Jan. 13 in Potomac, Maryland to witness an epic showdown. Powerful forces will convene and compete to see who will move on to the next round of a thrilling tournament.
We’re not talking about basketball – it’s a robotics club competition, and Telophase has a stake in the game as a team sponsor.
Telophase team member Thomas Huber works a technician at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and his son, Nicholas, is a sophomore at Reservoir High School in Fulton, Maryland. Nicholas builds and programs robots as part of the robotics club at Reservoir High School.
This is Nicholas’ second year competing in the robotics tournament, and Tom Huber says he couldn’t be more proud.
“It’s really neat to watch them get together as a team and think outside of the box,” Huber says.
He describes last year’s competition as a bustle of activity, with a practice area where students tested out their robots, and two arenas where robots performed various tasks, anything from picking up and moving a ball to hitting buttons to make lights change colors. Teams score points when their robots successfully complete their assigned tasks.
Huber says his son has always had a knack for figuring out how things work, and the robotics club seemed like a natural fit for him.
“When you’re learning how to build a robot, you’re learning about science, mechanics, electronics, different metals – all of those things,” Huber says. “It’s similar to what we do at Goddard. A lot of what we make is prototype, meaning you can’t just go to Home Depot and buy it off the shelf.”
By learning how to handcraft robot components in a machine shop, the students gain valuable STEM skills while still in high school.
The robotics club also offers friendship and camaraderie, much like any conventional sports team. “You win as a team and lose as a team,” Huber says. “It provides a sense of belonging.”
As a sponsor, Telophase will help cover the cost of registration, parts, and participation in qualifiers. Telophase CEO Jamil Husain says he is pleased to support this worthy cause. “We’re a tech-centered company, and we want to help kids connect with STEM fields however we can,” he adds.
Nicholas Huber’s team, the Gators, will compete this Saturday. If successful, they’ll move on to the next round of qualifiers. Win or lose, Huber says it’s important for kids in robotics clubs and other STEM-related activities to have community support.
After all, Huber adds, they might go on to be the next generation of technicians, scientists, and engineers at NASA.
Learn more about high school robotics clubs around the country by visiting FIRST Robotics Competition’s website.