Reflection : B.E.S.T. ROBOTICS 2016
By: Isabela Lozano
Managing my time as a high school junior has been difficult. I am a full-time student at McLennan Community College and University High School in Waco, TX. Being an ordinary teenager, enjoying late nights at the local taco stand with my friends, and uploading selfies on social media did not seem sufficient. I needed something more fun and exciting like joining the robotics club at school. After all, I want to be an engineer when I grow up. Since my freshman year, I wanted to join the robotics club but it seemed impossible because I was in athletics and in advanced level courses. This year, I was determined to join so I gave up athletics. I had no clue what B.E.S.T. Robotics really entailed. After all, how hard could it really be to build a fighting robot?
To my surprise, building a fighting robot was extremely hard and time consuming. The first week brought many surprises. I was assigned to the most dreadful and complex portion of the competition, the engineering notebook. Sadly, I was not going to get my hands near the robot this year. All I would worry about this year was a notebook, YES, A NOTEBOOK! The engineering notebook was soon going to become my best friend for the next six weeks. A notebook with notes and pictures of the robot. Seems simple right? Wait, there is more. Not only was an in-depth summary of our day to day process of the next 6 weeks required, but a 2-5 page research paper over how this year’s theme, “Bet The Farm” is associated to science and technology in the Texas region also required. My thoughts were simple, WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO? Being an athlete did not require this much thought and organization.
Learning how B.E.S.T (Boosting, Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robotics required much more than the building of a robot, I was astonished on how students in the past had survived. I had never appreciated all the “geeks and nerds” that would boldly say they were in the robotics club until I joined. The famous B.E.S.T. Robotics competition required a website, an in depth engineering notebook, an 8x8 exhibit, a marketing presentation, and a robust robot that had to complete multiple tasks. Six weeks of non-stop brainstorming, designing, and strategizing not only made me lose a bit of my hair but made me realize what engineering was really about. B.E.S.T. Robotics offered me an opportunity to use the knowledge I acquired being a student in the AJ Moore Academy of Engineering at University High School. It was an opportunity to utilize engineering skills to solve a real-world problem. This year’s theme, “Bet The Farm,” opened my eyes to see how dependent the farming industry is in Texas on science and technology. It provided many other first year participants and me the opportunity to explore our future careers before going into them. B.E.S.T. Robotics is more than a competition, it is a preparation for the future. Coming out of the intense and demanding six weeks, I was able to reflect on how greatly this competition has opened my eyes to explore much more in engineering. The Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology (B.E.S.T.) Robotics competition offered me the confirmation I needed to continue my path as a future engineer.