Tran creates robotics club, seeks to recruit members

Following his passion for technology, sophomore Brandon Tran recently started a new robotics club this school year, the Bot Builders.

Ever since his elementary school days, Tran has been fascinated by the subject of robotic engineering and science. He hopes to light a similar spark in others.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to learn more about robotics [directly] and everything that goes with it,” Tran said. “[I want to help them] engage in a practical experience to build interest in the field.”

The Bot Builders will be collaborating with the Computer Technology Matadors, a club at San Gabriel High, and the Association for Computer Machinery, a club at Cal State Los Angeles, to teach new members about the basic programs and techniques that will benefit them for competition.

“All members will most likely learn more about technology through constructing a machine that can compete in events in both technical and [creative] skill,” Tran said.

Environmental science teacher David Whitman plays a major role in the Bot Builders as the club adviser. Although Whitman is new to advising a robotics club, he is excited for a change in his weekly routine.

“I’m thrilled because I want to learn too,” Whitman said. “Besides the adviser, [it feels like I am] going to be a student at the same time. I get to learn the program. I get to learn [how] to engineer these things with the club members.”

Some students may draw comparisons between the Bot Builders and Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) or Science Olympiad. However, each club has its own distinct ambiance and demands.

“MESA and Science Olympiad focus on very wide topics of STEM,” senior Jamie Fong said. “Because [robotics is] such a specified field, it allows students to get a hands-on feel [for] robotics as well as [being] able to spend more time going over the material than in a generalized club.”

Through her brief experience in Bot Builders, sophomore Cindy Tran, the club’s secretary, has been able to develop and hone useful skills.

“[Being in Bot Builders has] taught me about responsibility and time management,” Cindy said.  “Since the event is coming up, we need to plan and format things to stay [on] schedule.”

Tran and the rest of the members of the Bot Builders are recommending students to come to one meeting to give the club a try, especially if they are interested in computer science, engineering, or are just looking for a new hobby. As of right now, the official dates for upcoming general meetings are undetermined, but it is likely they will begin in October. Those interested can come to E-209 after school from Monday to Thursday, or during lunch on Fridays to ask for additional information. 

“[Joining may] strengthen their capabilities in the technological field, as well as provide a fun way to meet and work with others who share the same interests,” Tran said.

Although Bot Builders is still in its early stages of development, it is one of the only robotics clubs in the district. The members are looking forward to future competitions and the impact the club may have on the school and the technological world.

“There’s robotics everywhere on the planet nowadays, whether it’s manufacturing a car or disarming a bomb,” Whitman said. “Robots are just [a] part of life now.” 

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