By Kelsey Snider LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (NCC News) – In just about a month, March Madness will be the topic of a lot of people’s conversations, but it won’t be for one team at Liverpool High School.
The Arctic Warriors are a robotics team. They learn skills like teamwork and deadlines, but also how to program and fabricate a robot.
“When I heard about the FIRST Robotics team, I basically thought it was my biggest dream ever,” Sam Larham, a senior on the Arctic Warriors team said.
They are preparing for a FIRST robotics competition that will take place on March 16, 17, and 18th. They are building and designing the robot, or what they like to call Snow-bot, to be able to collect and place gears and climb up a rope, but that’s not all they’re preparing for. At the end of their time with the Arctic Warriors, the students are planning to go to college to receive a degree in STEM.
“I hope to study chemical engineering,” Larham said.
He is close to making his dream come true.
Matt Starke, a mentor for the Arctic Warriors, joined a robotics team when he was in high school and went on to receive a degree in engineering.
“To do all those things in high school definitely helped me in college,” Starke said.
In fact, according to the 2015 U.S. News/ Raytheon STEM Index, there has been a steady increase from 2010 of degrees granted to students in STEM. Since the program’s existence, which was almost 20 years ago, 75% of the Arctic Warriors went on to study a STEM degree and ended up at companies like:
“Programs like FIRST Robotics and the Arctic Warriors give our students such a leg up and such a leg over other students that are enrolling in college,” Starke said.
It’s becoming less of a male dominated field, and more females are starting to pursue STEM related activities.
There are only 14 females out of 41 on the Arctic Warriors, but when Taskovski started on the team, she was only one of two on the team.
“It is just so so worth it,” Alex Taskovski, a senior and the Arctic Warriors president said. “It’s a limited field for women and I push for that. I don’t want them to feel like that because it’s a man’s field or just because people will think they’re nerds. Be the nerd! Be the nerd! You will feel so much better about yourself knowing that you at least tried this.”
She is planning an pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.
But for now, she and the Arctic Warriors are just going to focus on freezing out their competition.