Club emphasizes their diversity and welcoming atmosphere to all majors
Retriever Robotics want everyone to know that you don’t have to be a engineer to join.
Sitting in on the general body meeting of the UMBC Retriever Robotics meeting during Friday free hour, right away one can tell this group of students are passionate about what they do.
Shelby Coppolino, the president of Retriever Robotics, began the meeting with a PowerPoint presentation. Rather than passing around a sign in sheet, members could easily sign in by scanning a QR code.
Freshman Retriever Robotics member Sean Owen, a math and linguistics double major, said that he joined the club because of his interest in building robots throughout high school.
When he came to UMBC and saw Retriever Robotics, he saw his chance. “I just like to build robots, really. I still have a lot to learn.” Owen said “I remain a bit of a novice roboticist, but that’s part of the fun.”
On February 6th when Retriever Robotics went to compete at the College of Southern Maryland Vex U Regional Qualifier held in La Plata, MD, they placed 4th in Driving Skills.
Owen, who attended the competition at CSM, explains why the win was important for the team, “What does coming in 4th place mean … Bragging rights, mostly, and a confidence boost” Owen said.
What is even more amazing is that the team did not have a chance to formally practice on the field where the competition was held, making their victory all the more sweet.
Owen explains that this maintains a positive outlook for the future of the team: “It was pretty cool to do that well with so little preparation. Imagine what we’ll be able to do when we actually train!”
Another impressive aspect of Retriever Robotics was the sense of welcoming that the group had. The meeting started with an icebreaker and continued with almost everyone actively participating in the discussions.
The diversity of the areas of study of members in the organization is also something to note. Rather than just engineering and computer science majors as one may expect, finance and accounting majors were also present.
“We have space for anyone who likes robots, even if you don’t have any experience, or if you aren’t an engineer. The only prerequisite is wanting to build metal machines that do your nefarious bidding, or even your non-nefarious bidding. Past that, we can work with anything.” The evidence: Owen’s a math major that knew little of robotics when he joined the team. For those interested, meetings are held in ITE 102, on Fridays at free hour.