Kiwanis Club Hears From LAHS Robotics Team Project Y

Clark Noeninckx, left, and Minhtet Htoon, member of Los Alamos High School Robotics Team Project Y address Kiwanis members at their July 5 meeting. Courtesy photo

Andy Erickson describes the achievements and hopes of the Los Alamos High School Robotics Team Project Y July 5 for members of the Kiwanis Club. Courtesy photo

Kiwanis Club

Four representatives of the Los Alamos High School Robotics Club – Andy Erickson, Clark Noeninckx, Minhtet Htoon, and Jim TenCate – spoke at Kiwanis on July 5. They described an intense program of learning and hands-on work that led to state and national success this year.

Erickson said that this was the second year in a row that the Los Alamos club had qualified for participation in the World Robotics Championship in Houston. The Hilltoppers were among more than 300 teams entered in this STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) competition. They finished in fourth place. The victory was especially sweet because a major goal of the club is to increase STEM interest and activity in Northern New Mexico schools.

For this year’s competition, the club had to design and build a robot that could both shoot basketball hoops and climb up a series of bars of increasing height. Once the competition parameters were announced, competing clubs were given a very short period of time, about 6 to 8 weeks, to build their entries.

Noenincks stated that the competition teaches professionalism and enthusiasm at the highest level. “We don’t use students to build robots,” he said. “We use robots to build students.”

“We want students, clubs. And the state team to work together,” Htoon added. He noted that one of the challenges the Los Alamos club faces is finding the funding needed to cover all their expenses.

TenCate added that the club plans to enter a couple of their robots in the Science Fair.

The Los Alamos Robotics Club is a hard-working and dedicated group of students who are working both locally and regionally to increase interest in STEM and robotics. They want to significantly increase the number of teams in New Mexico.