Club of the Month: Falls Church Jaguars Robotics

Leonel Veizaga, Staff Writer

This month, the Robotics Club has been chosen as Club of the Month! I had the opportunity to interview the club’s president, Anhtuan Nguyen (12), about the club, and here’s what he had to say.
What is the overall gist of robotics?
We try to create passion for STEM by using competition as a catalyst for learning about technology and engineering. As one of our greatest inspirations, American engineer Dean Kamen said, “Robotics is the sport of the mind.”
How many competitions will the club compete in this year?
We compete in three competitions, as well as hosting our own. The first two are hosted by the organization known as FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), and the other is hosted by Vex Robotics. The organizations have been hosting the three largest robotics competitions in the world since 1992. We’ve been competing in two of the three competitions, VEX Robotics and the FIRST Tech Challenge for four years, but this is also going to be our second year competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition.
How long does it usually take to complete a creation in robotics?
On average, our creations take about a month to build, while our smallest robots take only three weeks to build. However, some of our medium-sized robots also take about a month to build, and our competition robots take six weeks to build, as promoted by competition rules.
When did you first become president of the Robotics Club?
The club was founded in 2014 under the guidance of Mr. Dan Tra, the former computer-science teacher of FCHS, who transferred over to Woodson HS in 2015. I was actually one of the founding students, along with a former FCHS student named Danielle Kaldmaa (Class of 2017), who graduated last year and is now a freshman at NOVA, among other students who helped found the club.
Which year of FCHS did the Robotics club have the biggest class?
To date, our largest class was the team of 2015-16. By population, our team consists of a large amount of juniors and seniors, who make up a large majority of the club itself.
Out of curiosity, what has been your biggest creation in Robotics? From what you’ve seen so far, of course.
Up to date, our largest robot has been our FRC robot, with a cubic volume of 2’x2’x5’. However, we are working with the Drama department to create a prop for the upcoming FCHS production, Into the Woods.

The Falls Church Robotics Club
(Photo Courtesy of Akira Tamashiro)