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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

the Epic

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Rookie robotics team the Chaotic Calibotz goes to worlds

Freshman Ellanya Sivasubramaniam, Shreshta Ramji, Sruthi Chetput, Sathvika Siva and Diya Narayanan (left to right) hold up the Judges Award. Photo used with permission from Sruthi Chetput

Amid the electrifying buzz of the robotics arena, an All Girls Rookie Robotics Team excitedly watched their robot rush around the course, witnessing their countless test runs and hours of debugging paying off. Completing a successful robotics season, The Chaotic Calibotz from Lynbrook consisting of freshmen Sruthi Chetput, Diya Narayanan, Sathvika Siva, Ellanya Sivasubramaniam and Shreshta Ramji received the Judges Award — the third highest award — at the VEX VRC Robotics World Championship held in Dallas, Texas from August 24 to 27.

The team bonded through the November Supernova hackathon — a 12-hour all-girls hackathon held in Santa Clara County — and realized that they worked well together after their randomly selected team placed first. When they learned they all had a common interest in robotics, they decided to form a team and compete. 

Both middle schoolers and high schoolers compete in the VEX VRC division, but only high schoolers can compete in state competitions and the world championship, also called Worlds. In competitions, teams engage in individual skills challenges and alliance competitions, where pairs of teams face off, strategizing to gain an advantage over their opponents for the year’s designated mission. In 2023, the mission dubbed “Over Under” tasked teams to create an optimal strategy to place as many triballs — plastic scoring objects with rounded pyramidal shapes — as possible into the opponent’s zone and goal. 

“Realizing the importance of collaboration, we spoke to other teams before matches and gained different perspectives and learned from others’ experiences,” freshman and team programmer Chetput said. “We also used critical thinking skills to tackle problems related to the game.”

Throughout the season, the team competed in a total of nine competitions, advancing from regionals to Worlds by earning numerous awards and high scores. Despite placing 40th out of 44 in their first competition of the season, The Chaotic Calibotz were able to apply what they practiced and learned to their future competitions, winning the Build Award at the Bionic Bruins event, the Excellence Award at the Indian Community Center competition and finally the Judges Award at Worlds. The award was a way for judges to give the team recognition for having skills spread across all areas, from teamwork to design.

“We’ve come a long way from the very beginning to qualifying for Worlds,” freshman and team builder Siva said. “I’m so proud of how far our team has come and of our ability to quickly acclimate ourselves to the competition.” 

The team was amazed by the sheer magnitude of the competition as they observed the parade of nations at Worlds, where each team proudly showcased their flag on stage. They also took advantage of the opportunity to gain insights from more experienced teams.

“Everyone comes with varying levels of experiences at Worlds,” freshman and lead designer Ramji said. “Since it’s our first year as a team in high school robotics, we learned a lot from collaborating with teams with higher calibers of experience who have been doing this for years on end.” 

While Sivasubramaniam and Narayanan had experience in robotics back in middle school, the rest of the team was new to the field. Regardless, they brought diverse skill sets with them including programming and design knowledge. Their varied backgrounds helped them pinpoint and resolve issues efficiently and effectively.

“Since we are an all-girls team, I think we got to see firsthand how daunting it can be in such a male-dominated field to try something new and enjoy that passion,” Ramji said. “By bonding over that, the five of us were really able to explore what each of us could contribute to the team. We don’t all have the same skill sets, but our different strong suits allow us to successfully execute our goals.”

When the mission for the season was released in April 2023, the Chaotic Calibotz quickly organized brainstorming sessions and four-hour-long online meetings twice a week. However, they faced initial challenges in figuring out how to start building and coding the robot. To overcome this hurdle, they decided to hold additional meetings outside of their regular schedule specifically dedicated to programming. During these sessions, the team learned to carefully consider various factors, such as the robot’s turning radius in degrees, and incorporated these variables into their coding efforts.

“Before we put any subsystem into the robot, we tested it with our previous robots to see if it was sturdy enough for gameplay before the competition,” freshman and team leader Sivasubramaniam said.

Through this experience, the Chaotic Calibotz enjoyed the collaborative aspect of robotics, appreciating the opportunity to socialize with so many different teams of differing backgrounds. Furthermore, their achievements throughout the season and especially at Worlds not only validated their hard work but also inspired them to dream bigger. In the future, they aspire to create a club for VEX Robotics exclusively for girls.

“Our success this season has really helped us boost our confidence and has inspired us to help other girls pursue their own passion as well,” freshman and team driver Narayanan said.

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Nicole Ge
Nicole Ge, Staffer
(she/her) Nicole is a senior and a returning staffer for the Epic. Outside of school, she enjoys playing basketball, watching YouTube, and taking naps.

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