RoboJackets (often abbreviated RJ) is an organization that manages to participate in a myriad of robotics competitions and activities to further our mission to promote, educate, and advance the field of robotics. We couldn’t do this without a robust and effective leadership structure, populated with leaders who are passionate about their projects and work tirelessly to guide the teams to success. This article will introduce you to the project managers (PMs) of each RoboJackets subteam for this coming year of RoboJackets, and give you some of their thoughts as they go through their RoboJackets journey. We asked each PM a couple of questions:
- Major and year
- Any personal details they’d like to share
- Their history in RJ, IE positions held, robots they’ve worked on
- What they’ve enjoyed most about RJ
- What they’re most looking forward to as PM
BattleBots: Cody Page
First up is the PM of our combat robotics team, Cody Page. Cody is a third year mechanical engineering student. When asked about himself, he said: “I’m from New Jersey. I’m not sure what else to say.” As a new member in BattleBots, he worked on Groovi, a drum spinner with a psychedelic paint job. Last year, he served as the 3lb Lead, who oversees and manages the 3lb program, the new member training program for BattleBots. The thing he’s most enjoyed about RoboJackets was, “getting to know all of the members, both new and old, and growing closer to them as friends and family instead of just people [he knows].” He also mentioned he enjoyed being able to get experience in a real engineering project to help him later in his career as an engineer. Finally, what he’s looking forward to most as PM is, “working with everyone and getting closer to those [he doesn’t] know.” He also mentioned that he’s been in close contact with a few other collegiate combat robotics teams and is excited to see what we can do when we collaborate with others in this space.
RoboNav: Tan Gemicioglu
Next, we have the RoboNav (formerly known as IGVC) PM, Tan Gemicioglu. Tan is a second year computer science major with threads in Intelligence and Theory. Tan is an international student from Istanbul, Turkey, and outside of RoboJackets, “[he] does research on wearable computing and work on some of [his] pet AI projects.” Furthermore, “he watch[es] a lot of anime and love[s] tabletop games.” He joined RoboNav last year and worked on Jessiii. He also acts as a committed team photographer: “I bring my camera with me whenever there’s robot action and I’ve taken a lot of photos for RoboNav and RJ events (including the famous background photo from the Hackathon demos! [the current banner photo on robojackets.org]).” On what he’s enjoyed most at RJ, he said: “I love the cross-team integration in RJ and I think that’s what really makes RoboJackets a special organization… RJ makes it clear that it’s all one team. This culture allows for a lot of mobility and learning that would otherwise be impossible.” On what he’s most excited about in the PM role, he said: “I’m very excited about our current plan to start taking part in the University Rover Challenge (URC). We’re taking several steps this year to prepare us for building a rover, manipulator, and science toolkit. I think it’s going to expand the scope of RJ and take RoboNav down an interesting path.” More to come on URC in a future issue!
RoboCup: Marine Maisonneuve
This year’s RoboCup PM is Marine Maisonneuve. Marine is a third year electrical engineering student. Marine is an international student from Paris, France. She really likes epoxy resin, and makes a variety of items, including jewelry. Her next big crafting project is a lamp. As part of her research under Professor Goldman at Georgia Tech, she has designed a robot that mimics the way a snake moves by only contracting muscles (in this case some servos and cables) on one side at a time. She got her start in RJ in RoboCup, and took positions as the RoboCup electrical lead as well as an electrical trainer this past year. She has also participated in some Outreach events. On what she has enjoyed most about RJ so far, “I made great friends. I am never bored because there is always a new thing to learn. I love long soldering afternoons with people when we talk about our life and laugh about random subjects.” As to what she’s most looking forward to this year as PM, she said, “meeting this year’s new members.” She is also looking forward to seeing how the newly upgraded hardware platform works!
RoboRacing: Shishir Pandit-Rao
RoboRacing’s newest PM is Shishir Pandit-Rao. Shishir is a second year mechanical engineering student. Shishir’s involvement with robotics didn’t just start with RoboJackets: “my goal has always been to increase the scope of robotics in my communities. I have created talk shows, done technical talks with industry, and much more in my time before RoboJackets.” He started in RJ this past year as a mechanical member on RoboRacing, working on both Sedani (our 1/6th scale race car) as well as Rigatoni, the new evGrand Prix car. He was also involved in volunteering with FIRST Outreach events. The thing he has enjoyed most about RJ so far: “the ability to collaborate with so many like-minded individuals to effectively work towards a goal, and create a tangible product of that process.” He also said, “RoboJackets, as an established player in the robotics and STEAM game, has provided me with a platform to give back to the Atlanta and greater Georgia community in ways I never thought were possible!” On what he’s most looking forward to, he said, “I am most looking forward to effectively working through the unique challenges that COVID-19 has placed on our program to provide the most successful RoboJackets and general competition experience for our members.”
RoboWrestling: Caleb Chang
Finally, the PM of the newest RoboJackets team, RoboWrestling, is Caleb Chang. Caleb is a second year electrical engineering student. He’s been involved with RJ for one year and has worked on power distribution boards for Gucci and Kirbi in Sumo while it was part of BattleBots. A personal detail he’d like to share is that he does flips as a hobby: “Right now, I can do an aerial (cartwheel with no hands) and am currently working on a backflip.” What he’s enjoyed most about RoboJackets is “definitely the people within the organization.” He elaborated: “there are so many talented individuals in terms of technical and leadership skills that propel RJ forward. I’ve enjoyed learning from them and striving to keep improving RJ just as they have.” As the PM of RoboJackets’ newest team, he “look[s] forward to increasing RoboWrestling’s members … and seeing how the team grows closer together.” Regrettably, the All Japan Robot-Sumo Tournament in Tokyo that RoboJackets usually competes in was cancelled for 2020, but this doesn’t faze Caleb: “Also, I’m very excited to see how our hard work will pay off in the All Japan Robot-Sumo Tournament in Winter 2021. By then I won’t be PM anymore, but I look forward to ranking higher than before!”
There is another facet of RoboJackets that is near and dear to all of our hearts: Outreach! As many alumni will remember, Outreach was its own subteam that specialized in education and promotion. Among other activities, they typically mentored a student team that participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition. In recent years, RoboJackets leadership has made the decision to change our approach to outreach and has absorbed the team into the core of the organization to better enable members from every subteam to participate. You can read more about this change in the one of the other spotlights in the September 2020 issue. The person in charge of this new outreach effort is the Outreach Chair, and they are as important to fulfilling the RoboJackets mission to promote, educate and advance the field of robotics as any other PM.
The inaugural Outreach Chair is Michael Chen. Michael is a second year mechanical engineering student. Michael has participated in robotics since before his time in RJ, including participating in the FIRST Lego League for three years in middle school and 4 years of FIRST Tech Challenge in high school. He went on to say: “before RJ, I worked a lot more on the managerial/community service aspects of a team, so I knew in college that continuing outreach through robotics was a must.” He has been involved in BattleBots, working on Hibachi, “famous for slicing a bot in half at Motorama.” He also worked on Outreach while it was still a subteam as part of RoboJackets Academy, an effort to produce educational videos for students participating in a variety of high school robotics competitions. As a part of RJ, he has enjoyed “the people most of all. Everyone is incredibly skilled and professional with how the organization is run, there’s a ton of amazing talent, and it’s a fun community of great people to get to meet.” He went on to say, “I’ve made a lot of good friends through RJ, even in just a year.” Finally, what he’s most looking forward to as Outreach Chair is “to help create a new structure of outreach where everyone is able to contribute to an organization-wide outreach effort. I believe participating in a common good brings an organization closer together, so from leadership to PMs to leads and members, it’s a great way to make an impact and bring RJ members closer together.”