A First Year Perspective, Part 1

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By Carmen Wise, Class of 2015

Being a freshman in FIRST Robotics at first is terrifying. For someone who had never been involved with robotics before, it was a completely new experience. If it wasn’t for the few friends I had involved that were sophomores, I probably never would have joined to begin with.

I remember the first week I was really scared. I’m not in a shop where you use your hands a lot. I’m not in Precision Machining, or Metal Fabrication, or Carpentry. I’m in Business Technology. I was entering a world full of nothing I knew with what I thought as skills that were not going to help me at all. Typing fast doesn’t build a robot.

Not to mention, I knew maybe four people, total in FIRST. In our team of 32 people, that’s not a lot. Besides, I couldn’t latch onto my friends all the time. My first week was very awkward, very scary, and very unproductive on my part.

It got better though. Once we got into teams, I found the one team seemed to suit me. Web site building. I enjoy HTML and set to work in that. The mentors were helpful, I got a lot done, and even now seeing the Web site launch was incredibly rewarding.

On the way to the launching of the website and in those weeks, my job on the Web site team forced me to break my shell and become better friends with people at FIRST robotics. For instance, I had to create profiles for all the students and take their pictures. Hard to do if you don’t know people. And even harder to match pictures to names if you don’t know who anyone is.

After the website was done, I had to talk to even more people I didn’t know, because I wanted to do something daring. Actually work on the robot. I asked people for work, whoever I could, because I wanted to get work done and not waste time. That lead to team work with a lot of different people in a lot of areas as we struggled to get each area of the robot done.

Therefore as the weeks went on, I got to make more and more friends, with juniors, sophomores, and even those really scary seniors, some of which I’m really good friends now.

My hard work also lead me to getting on Pit Crew for Boston, which I’m very excited for. In conclusion, work hard, you’ll make friends and get rewarded.  🙂

Part 2 to come after the competitions…..


In the Home Stretch

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We’re getting closer to the build deadline and our first competition and if that doesn’t inspire harder, more effective work, I don’t know what does. We’re in the home stretch with one full work week left before the February 21 ship date and the BAE Regional in Manchester, New Hampshire is shortly thereafter the first weekend in March.

The big news this week is that our new web site is up and running, with a few minor things yet to be finished.  Check it out here! The spirit team has constructed a mascot head – our very own robot Aztec and a design for our pit has also been completed. The goal is to tie everything together from the t-shirts to the buttons, to the web site and the pit to brand ourselves and show our spirit.

Mechanically, the final assembly of the drive is just about complete. We’re finishing the assessment of the chains and finishing integrating with the other systems. We have begun to think about where the electronic components will be placed. The parts for our pickup system have been machined, and we’re in the process of assembling. Our arena is completely built and we’ve marked up floor and backboards. Their goal at this time is to support other teams in their final building efforts.

All in all, in these final weeks, our robot and team is really coming together. We’re approaching the final design and will begin to test in the near future. Remember to wish the Aztechs FIRST Team 157 luck at the upcoming BAE Regional, on March 2 and 3 with the Boston Regional following on March 22 and 23. Come cheer us on!


Media Post – Build Photos

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Here are some more photos from the last couple of build weeks!

Checking out the specs

Testing old rollers

Cutting wood for the arena

Seeing if the ball will fit with the rollers

Figuring it out

Getting some help on the drive system

Having some fun with yarn