BearBots senior earns international honor joining VEX Robotics student advisory board
Sarah Joffrion’s STEM career may be just beginning, but the Class of 2023 graduate has already been recognized on the international stage.
This year, Sarah and her Harpeth Hall BearBots teammates made their second-consecutive appearance at the VEX Robotics Worlds competition. In addition, Sarah was invited to join the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation Student Advisory Board (SAB), which provides input regarding the foundation’s STEM programs to help prepare the next generation of innovators, engineers, and leaders for success.
Only 12 students representing countries across the globe sit on the board. This year’s cohort included students from Canada, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. Sarah was one of only four Americans to be selected from hundreds of applications worldwide.
Members of the SAB are liaisons between their robotics peers and the REC Foundation by serving as a focus group that shares ideas, suggestions, and concerns from a student’s perspective. This year, the board met monthly on Zoom for two hours with Dan Mantz, who is the CEO of the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, which oversees competitions.
In March at the VEX Robotics World Championship, the Harpeth Hall BearBots team claimed its first-ever match win on the international stage. Sarah also had the opportunity to meet her SAB peers in person.
“I will definitely remember the satisfaction and pride I felt with all of our successes because of how much time and effort it took to achieve every success,” Sarah said of the BearBots’ achievements. “Our robotics team performed not so well prior to my junior year, so I will never forget when—after a lot of work and frustration—we finally got our robot to work and subsequently won our first competition.”
For Sarah, robotics has opened up a world of possibilities for her future.
I already knew I wanted to pursue computer science in college because of AP Computer Science, but my success involving coding with robotics really cemented my plans. Anyone who is willing to put in the work and learn is capable of going as far in robotics as they put their mind to.