Local robotics team heading to Houston to compete in world championship

Members of UNC Asheville’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5854, also called GLITCH, winning the Engineering Inspiration Award. Photo contributed
Members of UNC Asheville’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5854, also called GLITCH, winning the Engineering Inspiration Award. Photo contributed

Press release from GLITCH Team 5854:

Houston, we have a . . . GLITCH? Yes, a GLITCH! UNC Asheville’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5854, called GLITCH, is headed to Houston, Texas, to compete in the FIRST Robotics World Championship April 18-21.

GLITCH qualified to compete in this international event by winning the prestigious “Engineering Inspiration Award” at the North Carolina State Championship April 8. This award “celebrates outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within a team’s school, organization and community.” Bennett David, senior and a founding member of Team 5854, stated, “We may not be building pro bots yet, but it’s wonderful to be recognized for our GLITCH Out program! I’m delighted that we get to go back [to worlds].”

Through their “GLITCH Out” outreach program, the team strives to share their passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with the community, volunteering around 2000 service hours in the past year alone. Team members inspire young minds by serving weekly at the local Boys and Girls Club teaching robotics and engineering principles, assisting with summer robotics camps with the Asheville Museum of Science, mentoring FIRST Lego League teams for elementary and middle school students, and even co-hosting a statewide computer programming competition every spring. They also tutor students in math and science, help with Habitat for Humanity student builds, and encourage others to go “GLITCH Green” by volunteering at Asheville GreenWorks Hard 2 Recycle events.

The student-run high school robotics team, established in 2016, is comprised of students from 6+ area schools. Team members develop skills in STEM-related fields like computer programming, computer-aided design, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as team-building, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills, all while building a 6 foot, 120 pound robot in just six weeks.

“I was blown away by the students’ technical and leadership skills,” said new lead mentor Erika Ross from GE Aviation. “This is truly a student-led team. They make the decisions, they set their own goals. The students take ownership of everything from the design and fabrication of the robot, to the fundraising for competitions and materials. I’ve learned so much from this team and I’m so proud to see their hard work and dedication has paid off.”

Team 5854 GLITCH would like to thank their Emerald, Platinum, Gold, and Silver sponsors for supporting the team this season: UNC Asheville, GE Aviation, FRC Team 122, NASA, Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation, Robert and Barbara Bell, EmergeOrtho, Asheville Women’s Medical Center, Meritor, Mazor Robotics, and Allegra Asheville; as well as our mentors, family, friends, and the Asheville community.

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