The Regal Eagles is a FIRST robotics team of 30 students between grades nine and twelve based out of Bethpage High School in New York. These students reflect their passion for STEM within their competitions and within their community. This season Siemens Digital Industries Software had the opportunity to sponsor the team. The team’s core leadership is made up of the four seniors that have been on the team the longest. In talking to the four leaders, they let us know how they use the sponsorship funds for their competition team and to help support outreach initiatives. The team’s focus on outreach is truly inspiring. As an example, the students have a new Principles of Engineering class that was started two years ago. This class has been supported through the software Siemens provides and has helped introduce many students on the team to concepts of engineering from the classroom. As part of their outreach the team does activities such as a summer camp for middle school age students with the goal of introducing engineering concepts from an earlier age.
For the previous two years covid caused many tribulations for the team and the competition itself. The 2021-2022 season was the first time the entire team had an in-person competition. They were still able to meet in the previous years on Zoom and participated more in online items of competition. This included things like coding, modeling and other challenges that helped them in their future builds.
Finally coming back to in-person competition made it all the sweeter when the Regal Eagles won the regional competition this year. The team has gone to Worlds for the past six years in a row, usually through wild cards or the Engineering Inspiration Award. This year they not only got the Engineering Inspiration Award, but they also won outright to qualify for the 2022 FIRST® Championship taking place on April 20th in Houston, Texas. They also won the Judges Award which recognizes a team’s unique efforts and merit. This was the first time this had happened to the team, and it was quite exciting and a unique experience.
The team’s focus on outreach is truly inspiring. It is the reason the team has seen such a growth in diversity over the years. Back when Naomi, Suchitha and Ruchitha started, they were the only three girls on the team. Now the team has 17 girls which makes up 54% of the team. Naomi, Suchitha, and Ruchitha have seen the program evolve and it has been fueled by their passion for outreach and inclusion. It is extremely important to them to relay that engineering is for everyone and can also be incredibly fun. Now they are passing on their knowledge to the younger classmates to continue these passions and excellence in the program that they have built up over their past four years. The team is interested in diverse types of engineering and computer science majors. We heard aerospace, mechanical, computer, and programming to name a few.
After this semester the graduates are going off to college to also study various forms of engineering. Naomi Rufian who was the operations manager of the team, will move on to Cornell University to study information sciences with a concentration in human computer interaction. Samar Singh, the programming leader and CAD (Computer Aided Design) design leader, plans to go to college for mechanical engineering with a possible double major in computer science. Suchita Channapatna was the mechanical and electrical leader. She plans to study aerospace or mechanical engineering at MIT in the fall. Ruchitha Channapatna was the captain of the team, and she will be joining her sister at MIT to study mechanical engineering with a focus in the biomedical field.
Congratulations to the Regals Eagles on all they have accomplished! Their dedication to outreach and inclusion is apparent and incredibly inspiring. The future of the Regal Eagles is bright, and we know we will hear more about the Regal Eagles and all who have been on the team in the future. We wish the Regals Eagles and all the teams competing in the 2022 FIRST® Championship the best of luck!