Dean’s List 2022: Justin B

Triple Helix mentors are proud to submit the following Dean’s List Award nomination for student captain Justin B, of the class of 2023.

Explain how the student embodies the philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopetition through the FIRST Core Values: Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork and Fun. Please provide examples.

Through his engagement in FIRST, Justin has grown into an outstanding student leader who consistently demonstrates a passion for FIRST ideals, a thoughtful and effective leadership style, and a motivation for learning which every 2363 team member tries to model. J’s standout contributions to our program (providing the test case for our quadcopter challenge, leading our project to provide low-cost assistive technology for people with disabilities) have all involved leveraging his knowledge, interest, and pursuit of fun in service to his teammates and our community. An instinctive gracious professional, J has made key impacts within the STEM competition community through his involvement in influential prototyping videos, whitepapers, conference presentations, and other shared resources.

How has the student increased the awareness of FIRST? Describe the student’s interests and/or plans to continue to engage with FIRST beyond high school. Please provide examples.

A dedicated advocate for FIRST and a believer in FIRST students’ power to make meaningful change, Justin assumed a leadership role in our project exploring the intersection of rehabilitation & the maker movement. J and teammates work alongside Occupational Therapy doctoral students to design & build low-cost assistive tech, such as adapting switches into toys to help children learn cause-effect relationships. These devices are immediately beneficial to the clients and are lasting proof of the great potential of students who have gained skills through FIRST. J is also a valuable contributor to traditional outreach events, and recently helped create a mock judging experience for a Championship-bound FLL team. J plans to continue his FIRST participation via event volunteering and mentorship.

Describe the student’s technical expertise, using specific examples in the areas of programming, electronics, design, fabrication, making, illustrating how these skills have contributed to the team’s success. Please provide examples.

Justin always demonstrates remarkable professionalism, sense of responsibility, knack for learning, and emotional intelligence that sets him apart from his teammates. Peers and mentors regularly applaud his work ethic, and he constantly proves himself open to new responsibilities. Because of his motivation to learn and contribute, J has cultivated an expertise in all technical aspects of the team. J’s landmark contributions have included development of an advanced autonomous path-planning software, the CAD design of our robot’s end-effectors in the 2018-2020 FRC seasons, and advancement into a student-trainer role in the operation of precision machinery such as the team’s mill, lathe, laser cutter, and 3d printers.

How does the student’s individual contributions to the team benefit the team as a whole in the areas of fundraising, outreach, entrepreneurship, and creativity? Please provide examples.

In 2021, Justin pioneered the development of TORC, a design-build-fly drone competition within Triple Helix; this program enabled us to maintain student and mentor engagement through the pandemic. Through instructional videos, written documentation, and in-person assistance, J led his peers to develop valuable new skills while working within the bounds of meeting restrictions. J is forward-thinking in regards to presenting our team to our community; he led the design & fabrication of a mini-bot for demos, and has led his peers in contributions to fundraising and grantwriting. As a key contributor to our outreach program, J provides essential assistance with events such as university STEM Days, FLL Kickoffs, demonstrations at air shows, FLL mock judging sessions, activity fairs, and more.

Explain the student’s leadership to their fellow team members. How do they motivate others? What is their leadership style? Please provide examples.

Concurrent with his full-time job as a dedicated and high-performing HS student, Justin serves as Triple Helix’s student captain, having naturally grown into this role since taking on a key design leadership responsibility as an 8th-grader. J’s key strengths as a team leader are his proactiveness in recognizing emerging problems and his drive to implement simple, effective solutions without being asked. During the 2021 season, J’s focus on getting things done and being good stewards of limited team resources were essential to the team’s successes in the At Home challenges. Teammates often seek J’s advice and help. J seeks out opportunities to pass on his skills to new students, leading them to prototype and assemble new mechanisms such as 2022 swerve modules.

Dean’s List 2022: Joshua N

Triple Helix mentors are proud to submit the following Dean’s List Award nomination for lead programming student Joshua N, of the class of 2023.

Explain how the student embodies the philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopetition through the FIRST Core Values: Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork and Fun. Please provide examples.

Joshua’s dedication to the FIRST Core Values began in FLL and was cemented by his experience of competing at the World Festival three times. FIRST is a natural fit for J, giving him an outlet to explore his natural love of learning, curiosity, innovative thinking, and desire to be part of a STEM community. Driven by his passion for discovery and innovation, his skill and expertise has led to in-depth explorations of graduate-level mechatronics and controls concepts. J has had a tremendous impact on the FIRST community by mentoring 19 FLL and 3 Jr. FLL teams and by sharing his technical contributions as a gracious professional. J embraces the value of inclusion and has focused the majority of his mentoring in under-served areas.

How has the student increased the awareness of FIRST? Describe the student’s interests and/or plans to continue to engage with FIRST beyond high school. Please provide examples.

For the past 9 years, Joshua has expanded awareness of FIRST through his over 900 hours of outreach and mentoring in his community. J’s primary achievements have included his development of (1) robotics summer camps focusing on underserved populations, and (2) a training program for local FLL coaches. J’s work has also included starting and coaching two FLL teams, participating in over 100 community presentation/demo activities, teaching programming classes in local homeschooling co-ops, and assisting in organizing a Jr. FLL expo at a local STEM festival.

Having been involved with FIRST for most of his life, after graduation J plans to volunteer as a judge at FIRST events as well as mentor FRC teams. J has already started volunteering at local, state, and global FTC and FLL tournaments.

Describe the student’s technical expertise, using specific examples in the areas of programming, electronics, design, fabrication, making, illustrating how these skills have contributed to the team’s success. Please provide examples.

Experienced programming mentor Kim Flynn of FRC 1923 states that Joshua is “one of the two people pushing forward a new frontier in FRC software we’ve never seen; and he’s a student outpacing industry professionals.” J’s landmark accomplishments as leader of the programming subteam have been to (1) overhaul our approach to autonomous path planning and trajectory following for both differential-drive and swerve-drive robots and (2) implement advanced award-winning control techniques. J’s generation of time-optimized trajectories which obey physical constraints placed 2363 as the 39th top scorer among 1,412 teams worldwide in the 2021 FRC challenges. By open-sourcing this work and freely discussing it on the FRC Discord, J has also demonstrated that 2363 is a center of expertise in this area.

How does the student’s individual contributions to the team benefit the team as a whole in the areas of fundraising, outreach, entrepreneurship, and creativity? Please provide examples.

Joshua’s involvement now forms the cornerstone of Triple Helix’s outreach efforts, and has resulted in an increased partnership with our school district’s STEM Department to deliver an organized mentoring program to multiple underserved schools. Because many new students have joined due to his mentoring, J also has a core role in our student recruitment strategy.

In addition to this mentoring effort, J has also organized unique events such as FLL Kickoffs and Coopertition Days, has consistently participated in most of Triple Helix’s 62 outreach events in the past 5 years, and has embarked on outreach efforts of his own. J has also represented the team in written and in-person communications to sponsors, judges, and community members.

Explain the student’s leadership to their fellow team members. How do they motivate others? What is their leadership style? Please provide examples.

Soon after joining 2363 in 8th grade, the team recognized Joshua as the leader of the team’s programming and scouting efforts. These roles require a conscientiousness, work ethic, and maturity far surpassing those of an average HS student, as well as highly-tuned communication skills. J is a skilled technical communicator in all settings; mentors often find him walking students and adults through his approach to various problems, soliciting feedback from these teammates, and incorporating this feedback to refine his thinking. J instills in his teammates the belief that they can accomplish anything they set out to do, and his tenacity in the face of tough problems, and willingness to push technical boundaries, are an inspiration to his teammates.

Newsletter: Triple Helix Robotics annual report

With just 2 months to go until kickoff of the 2022 FIRST Robotics Competition, we look back on a year that– despite its hardships– was also full of improbable victories.

Intentional Innovation Foundation, the nonprofit operating sponsor for Menchville High School’s Triple Helix Robotics team, has published our annual report for the July 2020 – June 2021 fiscal year.

http://team2363.org/2021/10/2020-2021-annual-report/

The report captures the many stellar recent accomplishments of our flagship competitive youth STEM program:

Triple Helix appreciates our gracious sponsors who make our award-winning program possible, and we look forward to an even more impressive 2022!

Join our team – Donate – Donate in-kind


Nate Laverdure
President, Intentional Innovation Foundation
Head coach, Triple Helix Robotics

2020-2021 Annual Report

Intentional Innovation Foundation, the operating nonprofit sponsor of Triple Helix Robotics, is proud to present our Annual Report for the organization’s 2020-2021 fiscal year.

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Report

Message from IIF on equal educational opportunities for transgender students

Triple Helix head coach Nate Laverdure sent the following message on behalf of the Intentional Innovation Foundation Board of Directors.

Intentional Innovation Foundation, the nonprofit operating sponsor of Triple Helix Robotics, strives to provide a safe, affirming, and professional environment for learners to explore tough, exciting problems in STEM.

We are disappointed by Tuesday’s [August 17, 2021] vote of the Newport News School Board to reject proposed revisions to Policy JB, Equal Educational Opportunities, which would have expanded the district’s existing anti-discrimination protection to the reasons of gender and gender identity. This change would have also enabled schools to implement policies consistent with the Virginia Department of Education’s “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools” as required by law.

Adopting the proposed policy changes will make the school environment more reflective of the professional working environments of our employers and sponsors. This environment is one where contributions to the team matter more than identity based discriminatory factors, and it is an environment which we seek to provide to our participants. Adopting the policy changes enhances our ability to provide, at no cost to Newport News Public Schools, the high-energy competition robotics experiences which inspire our young people to become science and technology leaders.

Intentional Innovation Foundation advocates for the passage, without delay, of the proposed revisions to the Equal Educational Opportunities policy at the next Special Meeting of the Newport News School Board scheduled for Thursday, August 26, 2021, at 5 p.m. in the School Administration Building.

Nate Laverdure
President, Intentional Innovation Foundation
Head coach, Triple Helix Robotics