Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meet the Vacaville Robodogs Team #2085: "We're More Than Ready"

Bishop-Wisecarver is proud to be a Diamond Supplier this year of the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) — we're even more proud of the teams we sponsor. These groups of students, mentors, and volunteers are dedicated to the cause, and it's an honor to share with you their story.

This week, we'd like to feature team #2085 located in Vacaville, CA at Vacaville High School. This is our first year as a sponsor of the Robodogs, but it's not their first year to battle. With more than six years of participation under their belt, the team knows the ins and outs of participating in FRC.

After working for more than 36 hours straight to meet the season's build deadline, the team's CFO Tyler K. took time out to meet with us for a Q&A session.

To see a photo gallery update of the team, click here.

Question: We recognize that FIRST is not just about building a robot. What else does this competition encompass for you, and what are you learning as you prepare for the competition?

Answer: For me, it’s a lot of working with people and about building managerial skills, like getting a group to work collectively towards one goal. FIRST is a lot about people, and lots of problem solving; working one on one to resolve interpersonal conflicts.

I do all the budgets, team logistics, and one hundred percent of the team’s travel coordination and planning. I do a lot of the paperwork that goes along with the normal presidency that we've had in years past, as well.
Courtesy of Team #2085

Question: What do you think your team is best at? Do you think that you and the other team members have discovered new interests and talents through FIRST thus far, and if so, what are they?

Answer: I would say our team is best at formulating ideas and shooting for the stars. We engage in a lot of theoretical engineering. We know AutoCAD. We do spend a lot of time on the idealistic, conceptual aspects.

Personally, I’d originally wanted to be a neuroscientist, but after going through FIRST build season I realized I’d rather lead and manage than do the actual technical work.

Question: Which aspect(s) of the FIRST Robotics Competition is your team most excited about and why?

I enjoy the actual competition. The team is excited about seeing other teams’ designs as well as the different ideas that were generated, and being a part of the collective engineering community.

Question: FIRST provides many opportunities to enhance and engage different skill sets. What skills are your team members building and do you plan to use these skills in the future, such as in a field or career you’re interested in pursuing?
Courtesy of Team #2085

A lot of them go into engineering careers. About six out of the seven of the engineering majors go into mechanical or electrical engineering. And 85-90% of the graduating seniors that participate in FIRST go into engineering. Twenty-five percent of MIT's incoming freshman participated in FIRST. Teri Benart, a FIRST Regional Manager, shared a lot of these fun facts with me.

Question: Even though we’re not to the competition yet, we know that sometimes it’s not just about the outcome, but about the process as well. What are your team’s greatest accomplishments thus far?

Answer: I would say that the amount of work and the dedication from each team member is one of the team’s greatest accomplishments.

Our first competition is this Friday—the Central Valley Competition that will be held in Madera.

Spiritually and motivationally speaking, I think we are more than ready.

When we go through build season, there is something everyone takes away from it, and that it could not be done without gracious sponsors such as Bishop-Wisecarver Group.