5 Apr 2017

In the fall of 2015, homeschool mom Tanya Dickens and her husband, James, started NC Triad Robotics in High Point to encourage their eight-year-old son’s growing interest in robotics and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related activities. She recruited a coach who had previously taken his high school robotics team to that program’s national finals competition. Initially, they had one team comprised mostly of boys with a handful of girls. After a few weeks, Tanya began thinking about the value of introducing their girls to STEM. She encouraged their two older daughters to try it. At first, they seemed indifferent, but once they saw the robot taking shape and experienced the excitement of their brother and other team members, they were all in. It wasn’t until they competed in the 2016 NC VEX IQ State Qualifier in Concord that they truly experienced the excitement and competitiveness of robotics. That experience inspired them to work hard in preparation for the next year’s competition.

In the 2016-2017 season, NC Triad Robotics grew to have two younger teams and one high school team. Although most of their team members are homeschool students, they welcome public and private school students as well. Tanya’s oldest daughter graduated to the high school team this season, and her son and other daughter remained on one of the middle school teams. With a new and more complex robot, the high school team began working on their robot in preparation for the VRC state qualifying competition on January 21, 2017. Thirty-five teams competed at the qualifier, and NC Triad Robotics’ high school team won the Sportsmanship Award for their excitement, enthusiasm and spirit of friendly competition and cooperation. Tanya and the team coach are so honored by the way their students represented themselves and their club throughout this grueling ten-hour event.

NC Triad Robotics hosted its very first state-qualifying event on February 4 that included four teams from separate cities in NC. They are amazed by the growth and success of the program in just two short years. If you’re interested in finding out more about NC Triad Robotics, you may email Tanya at nctriadrobotics@gmail.com.

Note: Robotics competitions are sponsored by Robotics Education & Competition Foundation. More information on teams and competitions in other areas of the state is available at https://www.robotevents.com.