It’s time to be inspired! Don’t miss this chance to learn about this FIRST Robotics Challenge high school team and how these students - our future leaders! - not only competed in a STEM challenge, but did so while dealing with the multiple challenges of COVID.
Bishop-Wisecarver has been a proud sponsor of the FIRST Robotics Challenge program for 14 years donating supplies, money, mentoring and encouragement at a national and regional level. In 2021, we sponsored five local teams and we will highlight each one in the coming months. Take a few minutes to read and cheer on these students, not just for FIRST, but for all that is ahead of them.
Team: MVRT, Team 115
School: Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif.
Team Member Interviewed: Soumil Gupta, Director of Finance, Senior
FIRST 2021 Awards: Innovation Challenge Semifinalist, Game Design Challenge Engineering Design Award, INFINITE RECHARGE at Home Autonomous Award, FIRST Dean's List Finalist - Arnav Dalal
Q: What games or challenges did your team participate in this year?
A: For games and challenges in the 2021 FIRST season, MVRT took part in the Chairman's Award, Dean's List Award, Woodie Flowers Awards, and both the Innovation and Game Design Challenges. The Innovation Award was designed to have FRC teams apply their STEM skills to create a solution for real-world issues, with this year's topic being fitness-related. Our team came up with innovations in wheelchair parts and accessories to bring more physical activity and exercise to wheelchair users' daily lives.
Q: What additional activities did your team participate in outside of the specific FIRST competition?
Outside of the FIRST competition, MVRT has successfully begun three new programs this year, including diversity in STEM workshops that cover gender, race, and LGBTQIA+ inclusivity for our team and community. Another program, called Eureka, focuses on our mission to increase the STEM education for special education students in our local community schools by teaching fun, interactive online lessons on various STEM concepts. We also are doing the same with STEM4Kids, targeted towards lower-income areas. We have also been able to continue training for our first-year members by manufacturing mini-robots to be distributed to our members’ homes so they will be able to practice skills that were taught through our online trainings.
Q:What are some of the ways your team has incorporated the Core Values of the FIRST program in this unusual COVID season?
For upholding FIRST core values, our team has developed a new focus on antiracism to increase inclusivity throughout the pandemic, and held virtual workshops to develop a more inclusive team ethic and act against the race and gender disparities in the modern STEM world. We also made sure to continuously involve our members in many online-based endeavors we held this year to keep our passionate team members and local community engaged.
Q:What is your favorite memory from being on the FIRST team this year?
As a Director, I run various weekly meetings and I enjoy that even with all our meetings being online, team members show up and have very lively meetings. I'm proud to see peers taking initiative and leading others regardless of the difficulties of operating remotely.
You can learn about MVRT at www.mvrt.com.
Read more about the FIRST Robotics Challenge in our press release that includes this quote from Bishop-Wisecarver President, Pamela Kan:
“One of the core values of the FIRST program is innovation and these students have shown this in incredible ways during this most challenging year. Their creativity and persistence in solving problems, even when they couldn’t meet in person, didn’t have normal access to their tools or classrooms, and had to meet virtually, is inspiring for all of us. FIRST has always been about far more than the actual competition and we continue to be proud of our sponsorship of this organization and the students who show us all what perseverance and teamwork look like every day.”