The Austin Robotics Club, FIRST® Tech Challenge team 8399, is determined to set their own course, and they are starting with their own robotics organization. Despite this being the first year participating in FTC for some, their team is entirely student-run, with an emphasis on business sense and independence. Their team is a business, their pit is a trade show, and their budget is entirely created and run by the students.
They were proud to win two awards at their regional qualifier, the Inspire Award and the Winning Alliance, and then picked up the Promote Award at the Championship. The team loves FIRST® programs for their ability to marry the technical and the non-technical, saying that “FIRST® is so much more than building a really cool robot.” For example, the marketing lead on the team says she intends to go to business school for college, and thinks that her current role is getting her real experience before she even gets there.
The team spoke of the common misconception that today’s teenagers think the world owes them something. Instead, they want their independence and initiative to show the world that they are not the entitled generation and that they are working to build things up in their own lives.
And in between showing the world what they can do, they are learning about teamwork, becoming close as a team, and thinking of their future careers. We all have no doubt they will go far.
It was wonderful to get a chance to speak with the Austin Robotics Club, and we would love to do more! We are seeking to spotlight amazing teams like this one, both on our website and in our media. Please let us know if you have an interested team, or if you want to know more about the impact of robotics in students’ lives!