By Parnika Chaturvedi '24
Students of the Notre Dame Robotics Team, The Janksters, recently hosted their 9th annual Boot Camp to give potential new members a taste of robotics while helping them learn about different aspects that comprise the team. The four-day camp, led by veteran team members, provided insight and exposure to the robotics program and helped students meet others with similar interests. Planning for the highly-anticipated event took place over the course of the summer, and many leaders worked hard to prepare interesting and engaging lessons.
During boot camp, the 20 rookies were introduced to a variety of workshops that highlight different aspects of the team. The mechanical side had students make tiny doodling robots and they were able to use the tools in the Engineering Lab to make mini houses. Additionally, they were able to integrate programming and electronics by learning how to program Arduino boards to light up LEDs. Students were also able to experience driving the team’s robot and learned about the history of the team, further increasing their knowledge and interest in robotics. The business aspect of the team enthused various rookies, as they were taught to design and make buttons, and all the workshops were described by them as being “very interactive and hands-on which makes this camp really fun!”
The Rube Goldberg challenge was a chance for students to utilize all the skills they learned from these workshops to make a Rube Goldberg machine. It also gave them the opportunity to work in smaller groups and get to know each other. This project simulated the robotics build season, complete with deadlines, various goals, and presentations, and also highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration within the team. A student explained, “I liked the challenge project since it allowed me to think creatively as well as get an opportunity to collaborate with others.”
Both the workshops and the project also helped veterans of the team develop their leadership skills and refamiliarize themselves with the campus, as this was one of the first in-person events that the robotics team has hosted recently. All the students enjoyed using the Engineering Lab, Design Lab and other new spaces in the Center for Women’s Leadership for numerous activities other than workshops including games, puzzles and a scavenger hunt. One of the most memorable activities was walking downtown for lunch, as rookies and veterans alike were able to become more accustomed to the area around the school and their fellow classmates through a fun outing.
Angelina ‘23 summed up the thoughts of all the students, saying that she is proud that in leading bootcamp, she has “gotten to know the rookies and grow in [her] leadership and presentation skills.” Indeed, the Janksters are all looking forward to another great year!