Robotics Reaches Out

October 24, 2012

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Last month, Westminster’s FIRST Robotics Team, Team 4256 – known as “The Cyborg Cats,” made a presentation to Boy Scout Troop 918 at St. Joseph’s Church in Cottleville. Team members introduced the Scouts to the FIRST Robotics Program and shared their personal experiences as part of Westminster’s 2012 rookie team, which was recognized with the Rookie All Star Award at the St. Louis Regional FIRST Robotics Competition and scored in the top 15% of all robotics teams that participated in the FIRST World Championship Competition.

A significant element of the FIRST program is community outreach and spreading the word to attract people in the community to the program and all that it has to offer. The team was excited when a director at Boeing Company, one of the team’s primary sponsors, approached a colleague and mentor of Westminster’s robotics team, Tim Terlouw, with the idea. Members of the team said this was a great opportunity to fulfill the mission of FIRST.

During the team’s visit, each Westminster student talked about his or her individual contribution to the robot design, build, or competition and how much they all enjoyed the experience. Sophomore Amber Terlouw shared that she joined the team expecting to work primarily in public relations but found herself helping in every area, including designing the drive train, constructing prototypes, and managing the pit area at competition. Senior Sea Sirisilp explained how he thought of his job as a programmer as “bringing life to the robot” and expressed how the support of everyone at Westminster and valuable partnerships with sponsors like Boeing, Siemens, Quest Specialty Products, and Bunge made it all possible.

Terlouw says the team was impressed with how attentive all the Scouts were to the students’ presentation. “Perhaps the most encouraging time of the evening was when the robot began to shoot basketballs into the crowd!” says Terlouw. “The Scouts encircled the robot for a closer look and asked pointed questions about its operation and the electronics involved. Our team definitely made a connection with the Scouts that evening, and we were honored that the troop invited us to participate!”

More information about Westminster’s FIRST Robotics Team can be found at www.cyborgcats.com and on the team’s Facebook page, Team 4256 Cyborg Cats.