Robotics team expands activities to volunteering, giving back

Sophomore+Jay+works+on+a+building+project+in+Caf%C3%A9+Lab+for+the+robotics+team.+In+addition+to+designing+robots+for+competition%2C+the+team+began+sharing+their+passion+through+volunteering+and+working+with+other+organizations.+

Provided by Darren Fuller

Sophomore Jay works on a building project in Café Lab for the robotics team. In addition to designing robots for competition, the team began sharing their passion through volunteering and working with other organizations.

Carolyn Gao, Reporter

With the competitive building season coming to a close, the robotics team has been focusing on outreach to inspire others and share their passion. 

Some team members have been volunteering at Girls Who Code, an afterschool program offered at Lab, where they help mentor girls in grades 3-5. Teresa Serangeli, one of the organizers of GWC, reached out to the team last year and offered the opportunity. 

A few people have continued to volunteer with GWC during the pandemic, including Lorelei Deakin, who helps out weekly. Lorelei, the team’s creativity captain, said that previously activities had been largely based on setting up and showcasing a robot, but this year volunteering has been geared more toward helping the girls on personal projects.

The projects include designing quizzes to ask questions like “What kind of donut are you?” or programming games on Scratch, an online tool for coding. 

Lorelei said that she has always enjoyed coding and that it has been great sharing something she personally loves, which is what inspired her to keep going. 

We’re looking to really branch our outreach to the community and make an impact in the school, UChicago, and give back to those who have provided.”

— Alp Demirtas

The team also directed the 3D Modeling workshop for ArtsFest, where participants used the Tinkercad to make blueprints. 

According to Alp Demirtas, captain of team Cache Money, the team had started without much prior knowledge on the topic and had to figure out how to make the workshop a success. Design captain Sharyq Siddiqi made around 20 YouTube videos to help teach the team after learning the material himself.

The team also hopes to work with outside organizations or places, such as local senior homes, hospitals, and educational programs to spread their passion for robotics and give back.

“We’re looking to really branch our outreach to the community and make an impact in the school, UChicago, and give back to those who have provided,” Alp said. 

They are planning on working with Metrosquash, a program aimed to help Chicago students in need with a combination of academics and squash.

Both Lorelei and Alp each emphasized the importance of sharing their knowledge and love for robotics and other STEM areas with those around them as a way of showing gratitude for its impact on their lives.