Genesee Early College Robotics Team 'TESLA' places 85th at State Competition

FLINT, Michigan — Earlier this month, the Genesee Early College Robotics Team 'TESLA' placed 85th with 153 ranking points at the FIRST® in Michigan State Championship with their robot named Ultra Sonic Boombox a.k.a USB.

“The success of our high school robotics team serves as a shining example of the transformative power of STEM education in the Genesee Intermediate School District,” said Jennifer Thomas, Genesee Early College Assistant Principal. “Students on the robotics team have taken STEM courses at the Genesee Career Institute and UofM-Flint that have developed the skill set for them to achieve success in robotics.” 

This year’s state competition was titled 'CRESCENDO,' a competition transitioning from focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Ultra Sonic Boombox a.k.a USB was designed and built by students.

Team members fully utilized machinery design resources including CAD, CNC, 3D printing, and welding to build a competitive robot. Strategic planning with alliance teams also contributed to playing well in the District and State Competitions this season.

Genesee Early College’s Robotics Team, 'TESLA' (Technology, Engineering, Science, Leadership, and Academics) was established in 2013 with 2014 being their “rookie” season. This was the first year to make it to the State Championship for the FIRST® in Michigan Robotics Competition.

The team attributes their success this season to the coaches, mentors, and sponsors who have allowed them the opportunity to compete with some of the best teams in the nation.

“Robotics competitions require a diverse range of skills, from programming and engineering to problem-solving and teamwork. Our students learn to collaborate effectively, leveraging each other's strengths to overcome challenges and achieve success,” said Thomas.

The FIRST® in Michigan competition has been established within every high school in the state. This state robotics competition is designed to inspire highschool students to be leaders and innovators in science and technology.

The competition is a challenge that offers the excitement of a competitive sport with a robot-building learning experience that requires several core components: design, machining, and programming. Highschool teams compete in qualifying district events with winners being determined by a point system.

According to Thomas, “the achievements of our robotics team demonstrate the real-world applicability of STEM knowledge and skills. As they design, build, and program their robots to compete in various challenges, students gain invaluable hands-on experience that prepares them for future careers in STEM fields. Whether they pursue careers in robotics, engineering, computer science, or beyond, the skills they acquire through their involvement in the robotics team will serve them well in an increasingly technology-driven world.”

Outside of competing in robotics competitions, Team TESLA has been committed to giving back to the local community by volunteering and participating in local STEAM events to share FIRST Robotics and the robot with the community. 

“We would love to come show the robot and talk about the program at community events this spring and summer,” said Thomas.

Team TESLA, at Genesee Early College Robotics Team, relies fully on sponsorships and grants from local businesses for financial support as well as donations in kind towards materials, tools, and food. Aside from sponsorships and donations, the team is also looking for people who would like to support the team as a mentor or coach. 

Thomas asks that community members with a background in engineering, CAD, computer programming, CNC, marketing, fundraising, or those who just love working with high school students to contact Genesee Early College at (810) 591-5115 for more information on how to get involved.

For more information about Genesee Early College and its programs,
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Read more articles by Brianna Nargiso.