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S t u d e n t N e w s


been OK too. Participants at HMC’s FIRST Robotics Scrimmage were there to test their robots for an upcoming regional competition and to work out any kinks. The FIRST Robotics Competition


SWE Inspires

Harvey Mudd College’s chapter of SWE (Society of Women Engineers) hosted WEST (Women Engineers and Scientists of Tomorrow), an annual conference that targets local high school girls to expose them to math, science and engineering. Students participated in workshops in engineering, computer sci- ence, math, chemistry, biology, or physics, hosted by female Mudd professors. Christine Alvarado, assistant professor of computer science, led a workshop on manipulating the color of photos using Python software, while engineering pro-

fessors Lori Bassman and Nancy Lape

showed students how to build a kicking machine. Keynote speaker trustee and alumna Jennifer Lindsay ’02 provided examples of how technology is useful and emphasized how “normal” it is for girls to enjoy the STEM subjects.


(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), created in 1989 by inventor and 2009 HMC Commencement speaker Dean Kamen, is a popular annual event for thousands of teens around the country, who compete in teams to design and build robots that can complete a designated task. Stu- dents interact with professional en- gineers and college students who act as mentors. The Scrimmage in February

t was a tense moment as a team’s robot maneuvered over a bump then began to tip over. If it didn’t right itself, it would be disabled for the remainder of the game. Fortunately, the robot did right itself but had it not, that would have


Students from 13 different high schools test

brought in teams from 13 different high schools eager to test out their robots for this year’s challenge: program robots to compete on a 27' x 54' field with bumps and earn points by collecting soccer balls in their goals. The scrimmage at HMC was the last chance to fix any mistakes before shipping out the robots for the regional competition. Many of the students do not have prior engineering experience before

FIRST and build their robots from scratch with the help of parents, teach- ers, engineering college students, or sponsorship from large corporations including Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. The result? High quality robots that impress people, including David Harris, associate professor of engineering. He noted that what the students learn from participating in FIRST is sure to prepare many for a technical education. However, FIRST is not only about engineering. Many high school

teams consist of members who want to pursue business or marketing after their involvement in the program. In addition, students learn about teamwork and professionalism. One local high school’s FIRST team has developed a reputation for its generosity and professionalism in coming to the aid of teams in need. With this sort of training and background, it is no surprise that many

current Mudders, including Sarah Ferraro ’12, the president of the FIRST Mentors Club at Mudd, once participated in FIRST. Due to their positive

Future scientists study human physiology by learning about blood pressure, have fun with electronics (second and bot- tom photos) with engineering Prof. Qimin Yang (in purple) and hear from systems engineer Jennifer Lyndsay ’02.

experience in the program, many are eager to act as mentors.


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