JPL-Mentored Student Robotics Team Meets The President

Members of Rock N' Roll Robots (from left to right), mentor Julie Townsend of JPL, students Taylor Halsey, Salia Wilson, Katy Wooten Members of Rock N' Roll Robots (from left to right), mentor Julie Townsend of JPL, students Taylor Halsey, Salia Wilson, Katy Wooten, and one of the robots they demonstrated at the White House Science Fair. NASA/JPL-Caltech
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October 27, 2010

Three members of the all-girl Rock N' Roll Robots team travelled to the White House Science Fair to meet President Obama and demonstrate two robots that are their pride and joy. The 10 team members were honored for winning the most prestigious award at the FIRST Robotics Championships in Atlanta, Ga. The robot Dawn is a world champion from the 2007-2008 FIRST Robotics competition, and Steamboat Willie is a small robot used for software testing.

The FIRST Tech Challenge Inspire Award the students earned is considered the highest honor, because the recipients are viewed as role models for other participants in the competition. The winning team is chosen by the judges for best representing an ideal team, while being a top contender for all other judging categories, and a strong competitor on the field.

The mentors include JPL engineers Julie Townsend, Suparna Mukherjee and Jaime Catchen.   Three years ago, the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles signed up for FIRST to offer a competitive outlet in the areas of science and engineering. Now, some veterans of the Rock N' Roll Robots are continuing their passion for science and engineering at the college level – Katy Wooten is a college freshman at Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pa., studying mechanical engineering, and Taylor Halsey is at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Calif., studying biotech engineering. Salia Wilson is studying Cinematography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

The team members representing Rock N' Roll Robots had front-row seats to hear the president speak to students, science educators and business leaders on the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The White House Science Fair was sponsored by a commitment the president made at the launch of his Educate to Innovate campaign to inspire boys and girls to excel in math and science.

The Rock N' Roll Robots are recruiting students in grades 8 through 12 for the 2011 competition season.  Email mentors@rocknrollrobots25.com for more information.

More information on FIRST Robotics is online at: http://www.usfirst.org/ .

Priscilla Vega 818-354-1357
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Priscilla.r.vega@jpl.nasa.gov

2010-354



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