Beyond Robots: A Focus on Mentorship and Community in QLS Robotics


Beyond Robots: A Focus on Mentorship and Community in QLS Robotics
Beyond Robots: A Focus on Mentorship and Community in QLS Robotics

As one of Quarry Lane's signature, distinguishing programs, Quarry Lane robotics has deservedly earned the accolades and reputation as a small but powerful team, earning consecutive bids to state and national championships over the years. However, if you ask Dr. John Rogosic, Department Co-Head of Quarry Lane's Science, Engineering and Technology Department, what impresses him most about the team, it has nothing to do with awards.

"What I especially love and am most proud of about the team is what sets our students apart from the rest," he says. "We have a team full of brilliant students who not only care about themselves, but are truly invested in elevating others and providing encouragement, assistance and mentorship whenever and wherever they can. Our students go above and beyond when it comes to building each other up. It's an honor to have the opportunity see my own students grow into dedicated mentors and teachers."

This year, both the middle and high school robotics teams shifted from the VEX Robotics program to the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics program, largely due to the emphasis on teamwork, collaboration and mentorship of the FIRST program. The middle school team stepped up their level by switching from VEX Robotics to FIRST Tech Challenge competitions and the high school team has begun their season on the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) circuit.

While highly competitive, the FIRST program emphasizes both teaching and learning, and strives to foster important life skills such as confidence, leadership and communication as part of its core mission. This mentor-based approach has aligned well with Quarry Lane's philosophy and values.

Earlier this school year, the high school team participated in an outreach event at the Genius Kids Club in San Ramon. The team hosted 25 students from local elementary schools, rotating them through various stations including an interactive liquid nitrogen ice cream station and a LEGO robotics station. In addition, students were given the opportunity to drive the team's state championship robot at another station.

"The Genius Kids event was a great platform for us to interact with the students and encourage an interest in STEM," says QLS freshman, Kunal Khaware. "I enjoyed teaching the future generation of kids as they learn about the technology that will likely shape their future."

The team organized and participated in a number of mentorship opportunities with their younger counterparts as well. One such event included a workshop with the middle school entrepreneur club. For seniors Nishant Nair and Raghav Narasimhan, the experience was rewarding.

"It's always fun to work with young entreprenuers and mentor them, especially when they are so enthusiastic and passionate," says Nishant. "I felt good knowing that I had contributed towards helping the future generation of innovators and entrepreneurs."

"It was a lot of fun working with the kids," says Raghav. "I hope they continue on their path to becoming young entrepreneurs."

This spring, mentorship and collaboration remains a strong focus as they prepare for competition. As Dr. Rogosic says, "I'm looking forward to an amazing season as we continue to grow our team and STEM community at Quarry Lane and beyond."

**as seen in The SLATE Fall/Winter 2019 Issue (view here)

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