By Dora Martelli '23 & Alana Choy '23
In August, Notre Dame’s robotics team held their annual boot camp, where new students have a chance to get an inside look at the team. The Janksters are an all-girls team and aim to inspire and introduce young girls to STEM. Usually, boot camp takes place on the Notre Dame campus, but with the shelter-in-place, Team 1967 had to think outside the box. Many Janksters worked tirelessly to create the first-ever fully online boot camp. The team’s goal for boot camp every year is to help newcomers decide whether robotics is a good fit for them and to help them understand the robotics program at Notre Dame.
Throughout several weeks of summer, the Janksters worked to prepare for the summer boot camp by creating engaging workshops and fun activities. The Janksters created eight workshops for the campers to learn about the committees of our robotics team and also more about team history, the FRC community, strategy and problem-solving. The committee leaders worked on presentations and activities that introduce the campers to the four committees: mechanical, electronics, programming and business. Each of the workshops included fun activities such as using software to CAD a donut or using an online digital art program to create a Jankster-themed design. One camper explained that she “learned how important the electronics committee is for the integration between build and mechanical.” She also learned several new terms including “pneumatics, air pressure, etc.” All the campers were introduced to the problem-solving mentality that is crucial to building a robot on Team 1967.
During boot camp, 18 campers learned about the FRC community and more about the Janksters. The students participated in workshops to learn more about strategy on the team, team history, the robotics community,and problem-solving skills. Campers were also able to learn about the safety procedures that are implemented on the team with tools or other projects..The campers were able to build a mini robot using materials given to them. One camper said the activity was, “an incredible experience! All of the leaders were so great, and it was like we made our own mini robot! It was so incredible to build it.” By introducing critical thinking, as well as problem-solving skills, campers learned a little bit about what being on the robotics team is all about. They also got a chance to learn about what competition season looks like on the team, and what the robotics world, in general, is like.
Overall, boot camp gives campers the opportunity to bond with the Janksters, while leaders gain presentation skills and meet new students at Notre Dame. Even though there were some struggles, Emily ’21 who led the Electronics and Hands-On Fun workshops, said, “It was amazing to see the team pull together to create a fantastic online boot camp experience. Boot camp consisted of multiple interactive activities that allowed students to have hands-on learning opportunities. Despite being in a remote setting, it was a great way to meet and collaborate with new students as they explore robotics and our team.” This year was another amazing boot camp, and the Janksters are so excited to work with the new rookies and help them start their journey through robotics!