Getting a headstart: MVRT trains their newfound recruits

MVRT trains recruits at Headstart


Ishan Mitra

The new recruits in MVRT intently watch as an officer demonstrates using a robot.

Emily Xia

Senior Ishan Mitra watches a student as she eagerly attempts to put pieces of a robot together. He gestures towards certain objects when she gets confused, and the student listens, quickly picking up the pieces. Before she knows it, she has successfully created a robot. Excitedly, she turns towards Mitra and beams, high-fiving him.

Mitra is the president of the MVHS Robotics Team, or MVRT. MVRT creates robots to compete against other teams, both locally and across the nation. This process can be difficult and tiring, and newcomers must be trained well in order to be able to contribute. The rookies are trained through a five-day boot camp, called Headstart.

“The idea behind Headstart is that we wanted to get students interested in STEM, and also interested in joining our team,” Mitra said. “So we invited the [rookies] to come and help us out.”

The bootcamp was from July 31 to Aug. 4 this year, and each day consists of over six hours of hard work learning different mechanical and electrical concepts. Advisor Ted Shinta explains why it is so important to have a program like Headstart.

“[Building robots] are a different challenge, especially on the mechanical building stuff,” Shinta said. “[The rookies] come in with very little experience, and so you basically have to teach them everything, you can’t assume they know anything.”

Mitra explained how each Headstart day was planned, from the introductions to the building of the robots.

Almost every rookie started with little to no experience, yet after copious amounts of hard work, the rookies were able to create their own robot.

“It was about five days of Headstart,” Mitra said. “At the end of it they had built their own robot, and they had wired it and programmed it. They had a little competition against each other.”

Though the training is difficult, Director of Outreach sophomore Ranya Pendyala is excited and hopes for this year to be her most exciting year in the team yet.

“I’m excited because we went to [Championships] last year,” Pendyala said. “I really hope we get to go again because that would be a really good experience.”

Mitra agrees with Pendyala, and through the long hours and complicated processes, Mitra continues to help the team grow in any way he can. Although he is very excited for the building, he emphasizes that for him, the most important part is his teammates.

“I like everything about Robotics,” Mitra said. “When you join the club, you might be scared at first to try anything out, but a lot of the people are really helpful and really nice. When I joined, I made a lot of really good friends. You become really close friends with the people you make on the team, I think that’s a really good experience.”

Photo used with permission of Ishan Mitra
The new recruits in MVRT intently watch as an officer demonstrates a concept with a robot. Photo used with permission from Ishan Mitra