The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Splashing Into A New Year

ROV Presents At MX
Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

On Friday, October 20, Parker’s underwater robotics team (ROV) recapped their past year at an MX, citing their accomplishments, goals for the new year, and a way to join the team. 

Last year, the team competed in its regional competition and placed second overall with a perfect technical presentation score. From there, the team was able to move on to the MATE World Championship where they competed against schools from across the country. The competition was held in late June in Denver, Colorado. 

“The trip was such a great opportunity for the whole team to bond and to get to know one another,” Upper School science teacher Elizabeth Druger said. “It was always my goal to have a close-knit team.”

Druger started ROV five years ago with a group of female advisees. “I was sitting in advisory one day, and I was just talking with some of my advisees, and they were saying that they wanted to join Robotics Club, but they felt like they needed to know a lot about robotics already and they didn’t, and that is how ROV came around,” Druger said. 

Druger and Upper School computer science teacher Brianna Ifft currently head the ROV club. “Both Mrs. Ifft and I serve as mentors to the girls, which is where I think some of the trouble of having a big team comes in,” Druger said. Over the years ROV has grown significantly in size, having nine new people last year alone. “I love that more kids are finding their passions in ROV, but it is sometimes difficult when Mrs. Ifft and I are the only ones in the classroom and many students need advice,” Druger said. “I think part of the reason we had some difficulty last year was because we had such a new staff. Hopefully, this year, because most of our staff went to Worlds and now have some experience, we will hopefully be able to get our robot working and in the pool by January.” 

Last season the ROV had some technical difficulties when it got to the pool. There was a mechanical problem with an exposed wire which led to a small mechanical fire. Luckily no one was injured, but it is something that “we hope to avoid this year,” Druger said. 

The ROV presentation at competitions is broken down into three parts: the technical presentation, the poster presentation, and the pool presentation. In the technical presentation, the ROV team explains the technology behind the robot to the judges. In the poster presentation, the ROV team explains their marketing ideas and how they plan to use their robot to better the environment, using a poster they have previously crafted. Finally, in the pool presentation, the robot is put to the test, completing a series of exercises that the robot could encounter in the real world. 

“Because there are so many aspects of the competition, anyone can really find anything to be a part of,” Druger said. “Last year I worked on a little bit of everything which was great because this year I can now narrow my focus into something that I like more,” sophomore Paige Randell said. 

“The team, Mrs. Ifft, and I have a lot of aspirations for this coming year, including adding more thrusters so the robot can help navigate the pool better, not having any more fires, and having the students become more self-sufficient so that we can hopefully have a pool-ready robot by January to test,” Druger said. 

“As the CEO and it being my senior year on the team, I am very invested in the team hopefully getting to worlds again,” senior Gabby Druger said. “It has been such a fun thing that has guided me throughout my high school career and something I have loved doing with my mom.”

“Women in STEM is something I have tried and continue to try to emphasize. When I was in engineering school, I would roll into a class of like 30 or 40 and like three or four of them would be women,” Elizabeth Druger said. Most of the ROV team members are female, “and it has been that way forever, I think, because it was started by me and a group of girls.”

“This year we even created new positions within the team so that students looking for leadership positions within the team can get them,” she said.

The ROV team had many successes along the way last year, including getting second in the region. Druger is especially looking forward to the new year, “We are so proud of our team and what we accomplished last year and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for this new year ahead, I think it’s going to be a good one!”

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About the Contributor
Graysen Pendry, Copy Editor
Graysen Pendry is so excited to start her second year on "The Weekly" as a Copy Editor. In her previous year, she served as a photographer and staff writer. When Graysen is not found in a Weekly meeting, she can be found playing tennis or debating her point in Model U.N.