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East Grade 11 student Vedant Jain wins FRC Dean’s List Award

3 August 2021

UWCSEA East 2021 Vedant Jain FRC Dean's List Award

As one of the founders and the team captain of Team Wall East – UWCSEA East’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team – Grade 11 student Vedant Jain (Grade 12 in 2021/2022) has led the team to great heights in its inaugural year, with the team winning the Rookie Game Changer Award: Pacific Region (2021). 

Vedant was chosen to lead the team due to his prior FRC experience. In recognition of his outstanding leadership skills, he was awarded the Dean’s List Award 2021 (Pacific Region). The students who earn FIRST Dean’s List Award are great examples of student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. These students have also achieved personal technical expertise and accomplishment. It is the intention of FIRST that these individuals will continue on, post-Award, as great leaders, student alumni, and advocates of FIRST.

What sparked your interest in STEM?

I used to build solar-powered boats and cars during middle school because I enjoyed the experience of building things from scratch. Ideating and then watching those creations work was a gratifying process for me. Afterward, when I joined the FRC team at my old school and helped build an industrial-grade robot, I realised my interest in robotics.

Tell us more about your journey in leading the team. 

I started my FRC experience at my old team by working in construction. Therefore, moving up to team captain at a rookie team was a leap in responsibilities. However, we were supported by our mentors from school (Mr. Dunn and Mr. Zobrist) whose expertise in managing the team and construction respectively came in handy throughout the season. I learnt the importance of giving members autonomy and understanding that my role is to help members across all parts of the team with their difficulties. I also developed better communication skills because I had to reach out to and interact with people that I did not know.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future, I would like to continue working in the field of robotics. Having focused on competition robots for the past two years, I want to try other real-world implementations of robotics such as articulate and SCARA robots. Another aspect of robotics that I am interested in is using computer vision for autonomous vehicles and I would like to explore that field further in the future.

How will you use your FRC experience going forward?

My FRC experience has provided me with a myriad of opportunities in the world of STEM. It gave me a platform where I could meet other students from around the world who share my passion and allowed me to hone both my technical and interpersonal skills. Now, I want to use my skills to work on more robotics projects with real-world implementations. I also want to share the same opportunities that I have had with students worldwide by starting robotics programmes at all UWCs.

What was the highlight of your experience?

The best part of FRC is the experience of working in harmony with other students who have the same passion as you. The process of reiterating and making slight adjustments all over the robot was tedious but it made us appreciate the result more. I remember the time when our robot mechanisms started breaking down one by one. The team had to come to school during the break before exams to rebuild nearly the entire robot. I was proud of the way we persevered despite failing numerous times. Therefore winning the rookie game-changer award was the highlight of the season for us.

“Overall, helping start the first successful robotics team at UWCSEA was a wonderful experience. Not only did we introduce students interested in robotics to a platform for them to express their skills and creativity, but we also empowered students in Singapore, India and Hong Kong to join STEM activities and gain valuable skills such as programming in Java.”

Team Wall East has only gone from strength to strength and has great plans for the future. Students who are interested in developing their skills in STEM should reach out to the team. For the future, they are hoping to expand their outreach beyond just Asia and build more efficient robots that can compete for the FIRST world championship.