Student-led Huskie Robotics look ahead to the World Championships

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Building a robot made of over 500 parts from scratch in only 8 weeks can seem chaotic, especially with over 120 members from Naperville North and Naperville Central. However, Huskie Robotics Team 3061 is a well-oiled machine run and built by students.

“We have ten different sub-teams broken up into strategy, robot, and business. So while many people might think that Huskie Robotics is all about building robots, we really consider ourselves to be more than robots. We do a lot of community outreach and a lot of other things that goes beyond simply building robots,” said Huskie Robotics Team Business Captain Raj Thadani.

Student-led team takes the initiative

While the team may be listed as an extracurricular activity, the program operates like a Fortune 500 company, which plays a significant role in the team’s recent success.

“This team never rests, and so the students weren’t satisfied with our successes at the previous regionals, and so we’re adding another mechanism before the world championship here in the next couple of weeks,” said Huskie Robotics Lead Mentor Geoff Schmit.

Group success supported through mentorship

In 2023, Huskie Robotics has already won several awards, including the Regional Engineering Inspiration Award for their efforts to increase accessibility to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics), qualifying them to compete at the FIRST World Championships in Houston later this month paid for by NASA. Yet, their road to the big stage came with guidance.

“Us mentors are teachers here at Naperville North High School, but most of the mentors are not. They’re professionals from the community that volunteer their time to come and work with these students, which is a really important part of the FIRST Robotics program and the part that helps these students really envision what their future could look like,” said Schmit.

Huskie Robotics is about more than just robots

The team’s work ethic is relentless, working as many hours as a part-time job on top of being students. However, work feels like play when you enjoy what you do with others.

“That sort of camaraderie cultivates an environment where people can feel like they have their own smaller sub-family on the team where they feel like they’re contributing to the team in a unique aspect, and I think that’s the coolest thing about Huskie Robotics,” said Thadani.

“We don’t really use kids to build robots. We use robots to build kids. So we’ve got to have the robot there to get them here. But they leave with so much more,” said Schmit.

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