Ferradermis wrapped up a busy summer of presentations and demonstrations with a robotics boot camp for new and veteran members from August 4 – 11. Starting Saturday, August 4, eight incoming students joined a group of veteran members and mentors to learn about all aspects of the robotics team. Nineteen students and thirteen adult mentors, many of whom are engineers and engineering students, participated throughout the week. On the first day, new members learned about the electrical system on the robot and practiced soldering some wires under the supervision of veterans Cassi Hoxie, Rosie Aschenbrener, and Gwynne Sahyun. Hoxie gave the freshmen an overview of what it takes to program a robot, and they had the opportunity to write a small amount of code. Veterans Danny Soto and Reilly Aschenbrener helped them learn how the CAD team operates and spent some time teaching them the basics of Autodesk Inventor. Veteran members Sayhun, Rosie Aschenbrener, and Bennett Miles introduced them to competition logistics (how a season and competition works). Students also practiced driving last year’s robot under the direction of 2018 drive team members Soto and Hailey Prager. At the end of the day, the students were presented with their challenge for the week, a Frisbee shooter, based on the actual 2013 FIRST Robotics game. Veterans and new members worked together to design and implement a solution throughout the week, often taking the robot outside to test the mechanisms by shooting Frisbees at targets marked off on the side of the building.
Not only did new members get to experience all parts of the robotics team, veterans crossed over to other sub-teams to take on new responsibilities and learn new roles. For example, senior Zach Brantmeier, the head programmer for the previous two years, stepped back and supervised a new group of programmers as they found their way through the code for the first time. Boot camp provided a great opportunity for new freshmen to not only get familiar with the robotics program and improve their technical knowledge but also to develop friendships with upperclassmen prior to the start of school. Veteran member junior Rosie Aschenbrener stated that “Boot Camp has been very educational for both veterans and new members, and it has been a great team bonding experience as we introduced the new members to our team.” Veteran member senior Cassi Hoxie added, “I was excited to teach new people about robotics, and I really wanted the leadership experience as an upperclassman sharing my talents with the freshmen.” Dilpreet Randhawa of Wisconsin Robotics at UW-Madison, who serves as co-head coach for the team with Carissa Petzinger, an engineer from Generac, shared, “A core component of FIRST is getting some exposure to some of the challenges students have to face as a team. Our students have definitely risen to the challenge of the game, and I’m constantly surprised by the fervor in which they work.”
Throughout boot camp, the business team also worked to finalize the fundraising campaign for the 2018-2019 season, sending out letters to former and new potential business sponsors, submitting paperwork for a possible Culver’s Share Night and Topper’s Doughnation Night, and advertising our PayPal donation system for interested individuals on the team website at www.ferradermis.org. For more photos, follow Ferradermis on Facebook or visit Ferradermis.org. Team membership will be open to all Whitewater High School students in September, whether or not they attended the boot camp. Contact Team Administrator Laura Masbruch at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.