By Ria Nair '21
Notre Dame’s Robotics team, the Janksters, held their seventh annual bootcamp in early August. The camp was organized and led by veteran students who used it as an opportunity to recruit new members and highlight what each committee does and how they contribute to the team. The bootcamp gave 21 incoming and current Notre Dame students the chance to learn more about robotics and how the team operates through a series of workshops, games and other hands-on activities.
On Monday and Tuesday, the campers rotated through four different workshops, gaining basic skills in wiring and programming with Arduino, using power tools such as saws and drills, CADing (Computer Aided Design) and 3D printing keychains, and designing personalized buttons on Adobe Illustrator. The campers participated in driving robots from the past two years and learning about the team’s history on Wednesday. One camper, Rebecca Lee ‘23, mentioned, “The whole experience of bootcamp has really changed my impression of robotics. I thought that it would be way too hard for me but the Janksters explaining everything and encouraging everyone to try their best made the camp super enjoyable.”
Campers and Janksters alike were able to learn throughout the four days. For the veterans, the learning came from teaching various workshops. Connie Vu ‘22 and Ushoshi Basumallick ‘22 were both campers last year, and had the opportunity to take on leadership roles. Together, they said, “Our bootcamp experience this year was different because we have the perspectives of Janksters instead of campers. As Janksters, we were able to acquire leadership skills by teaching workshops and mentoring students for their Rube Goldberg project.” On both Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, the campers also worked in groups on a Rube Goldberg project. Finally, during Thursday afternoon, the campers were able to choose to learn more about one of the four workshops they were introduced to, as well as having the chance to drive the robots more.
In addition to informing students about the robotics team at Notre Dame, the bootcamp provided an opportunity for incoming students and current Notre Dame students to make new friends and develop their leadership and communication skills. From playing games to working together during workshops, campers were able to bond with the Janksters as well as their new classmates.