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Marisa Liu: We got to see robots from all over the world, like China, Brazil, Israel and Australia

Pictured above is junior Marisa Liu with WHSs robotics team. Liu started the club this year after she quit gymnastics and became a coach. “The competitions are a really fun time because you can see other people’s robots and all of the people are very nice.” Liu said.
Pictured above is junior Marisa Liu with WHS’s robotics team. Liu started the club this year after she quit gymnastics and became a coach. “The competitions are a really fun time because you can see other people’s robots and all of the people are very nice.” Liu said.
Pictured above is junior Marisa Liu with WHS's robotics team. Liu started the club this year after she quit gymnastics and became a coach. "The competitions are a really fun time because you can see other people's robots, and all of the people are very nice," Liu said.

Junior Marisa Liu was always interested in robotics, especially after watching her older brother Ethan participate in his robotics competitions.

Last year, Liu quit gymnastics and switched to coaching, so she decided to join the robotics club. She found that it had been disbanded, so she took its revival into her own hands. She recruited underclassmen who were interested in robotics and organized meetings to launch the club.

Because the team started the club later than usual, they were not able to find a teacher advisor in time. Thus, the club is a community club and not affiliated with the school. Liu hopes that the club will eventually become a school club.

“We’re trying to become a school club but not for next year. We might have a boosters club, but due to the funding and grants we can’t actually be a club. We would have to have a separate club than the community team,” Liu said.

According to Liu, most of the team did not know much about robotics going into it. The team learned together as they were building the robot. If they did not know how to do something, they would just look it up or watch videos for help.

Starting early January begins a six-week period called the build season. Teams are given a challenge or a specific purpose, and they must build a robot for that specific game. Following build season starts the competition weeks, when the robot competes against the other robots.

Liu and the team competed in four competitions this year. The team did very well at the competitions at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Northeastern University. The team earned Rookie All Star in one and Rookie Highest Seed in both.

Their performance made them eligible for District Championships, which include the top 60 robots in the region. There, they received Rookie All Star, which allowed them to move onto the World Championship.

“We went to Worlds, which is in St. Louis. That was a really cool experience since we got to see robots from all over the world, like China, Brazil, Israel and Australia,” Liu said. “There were some really nice robots.”

This year’s game was called Recycle Rush. The robot had to stack recycling totes on top of one another as fast as it can and place a recycling bin on top. The robot must also put litter into the bins as an additional challenge.

“The competitions are a really fun time because you can see other people’s robots, and all of the people are very nice. They can help you with your robot,” Liu said. “It’s competitive, but other people will help you and your team, like they’ll give you parts if you need them. It’s a really great learning experience.”

Not only does the team have to build and program a robot for the competition, but they must also raise funds to pay for all the expenses. The registration fee for this year was $6,000. The team also had to raise money for extra parts not included in the kit and the registration fees for Regionals and Worlds.

“The hardest part for us, because we started so late, and our team is so small, would be fundraising,” Liu said. “We only have seven people whereas most people have an average of 30-50 people.”

As the only girl and oldest member of the club, Liu also acts as the team organizer and manager. She is in charge of advertising and creating a business plan. Additionally, she helps maintain the website, which is currently in the works.

Next year Liu will focus on recruiting new members to try and increase the size of the club. She will also try and have a larger outreach to the community. The main goal, however, will be to continue building robots.

Liu also hopes that the distribution of members from different grades becomes more even, so the club can continue even when the seniors graduate.

“The last club was made mainly of seniors, and when they graduated no one was really interested or knew what to do, so the club disbanded,” Liu said. “I hope that we’ll have an equal number of members from each grade, so it will be able to continue.”

Liu is not sure if she will pursue robotics specifically, but she is sure she will continue the hobby next year.

“I definitely want to do engineering, so robotics will probably come up in the future,” Liu said.

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  • C

    Carmen LinJun 2, 2015 at 3:20 PM

    From my angle I saw it as good venture, done with good effort, & unexpectedly, must be due to the prayers poured in for it, also with God's blessing, and so with good results too. Keep up the good work!

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Marisa Liu: We got to see robots from all over the world, like China, Brazil, Israel and Australia