Engineering Students Taking Their Robot to World Championship Competition

SACRAMENTO -- Thirty students from the School of Engineering & Sciences in Sacramento are taking their robot, Clyde, to the FIRST World Championship in Houston.

"This is our first time in eight years being able to go to worlds," robotics coach Ken Davis said.

The students built their robot from the ground up in just six weeks.

"We're split up into several different groups. Manufacturers, designers, people that work on electrical and programmers," team captain Samantha Hight said. "Each individual group has to work together to put together the robot."

The students here program generic video game controllers to wirelessly connect to the robot and move it around the playing field.

At the competition, they earn points by making the robot pick up blocks and maneuver through obstacles.

"It's a lot to do with strategy and in-the-moment thinking, depending on what the other team does," Hight said.

The students learn engineering skills along the way, but their teacher says the competition teaches them more than science.

"They really learn how to work together as a team," Davis told FOX40. "One of the things we focus on is collaborative skills."

They then use what they learn to host robotics workshops for younger kids in the community.

"We try to attract students that wouldn't otherwise be exposed to robotics," Davis said.

The students say it's a way to pay it forward, because they need donations to build their robots and attend competitions.

"It's really important for us in particular to give back to the community, just because the community has given so much to us," team member Melanie Morris said. "We are a nonprofit, so it's really important that we get funding, because no one on our team has to pay to be on the team, which is unusual to most robotics teams."

That's why the team is asking the community to help them raise $30,000 to fund their trip to Houston.

"That money will go towards their hotel, towards their airflight, towards transportation while we're at the event," Davis said."They're bursting at the seams. Everyone is excited and we're ready to go."