Ursuline News

A Newfound Passion

It started off in middle school as a “mistake" - Michelle Bao ’24 had wanted to take art but ended up in the robotics class.

“Unexpectedly, I loved it! I even joined the Robotics Team,” she said. “It was an eye-opening and enjoyable experience to compete with other middle schools in the district.”

She continued to pursue her newfound passion, and in high school joined a VEX Robotics Competition team.

Most recently, her team participated in and won two Regional Tournaments: one in Cumby, Texas* and the other in Mesquite, Texas**, thus securing a spot in the VEX State Tournament in March. After that comes a national competition and then... VEX VRC World!

As a VEX Robotics Team, Michelle’s team purchases parts from the VEX website to build a robot that showcases specific tasks it is designed to do.

“The main objective of our robot is to pick up the game elements and put them onto the platform,” she said. “Currently, our robot is versatile and effective at executing functions, but we are still adjusting and preparing for the State Competition.”

Michelle’s passion in robotics stems from the numerous amounts of practice, failures, and hard work, expressed through the joys of competing and winning. She also hopes to one day pursue a career in STEM, in the Computer Science field.

“The experience I have gained from robotics competitions connects me with multiple aspects of Computer Science,” she said. “I have gained invaluable skills in coding and collaborating with a team.”

Ursuline has also influenced her by teaching her the foundations of coding and communication skills.

“Introduction to Computer Science has encouraged me to be creative and design unique programs and Computer Science A has helped me gain critical thinking skills and perseverance towards problems,” she said. “Ms. Jaurez. Ms. McGurgan, Ms. Yung, and Mr. Lancaster have also all supported me to start the Robovinia Robotics Club at Ursuline and have provided a foundation for STEM-related topics.”

Her advice to Ursuline students?

“If you are passionate about STEM, enjoy challenges, critical thinking and a lot of hard work, robotics will be an enjoyable, yet competitive activity for you to try,” she said.

*In Cumby, Michelle's team competed against 37 teams, winning the Tournament Champions Award (ranked 1st place).

**In Mesquite, Michelle's team competed against 43 teams, receiving the Robot Skills Champion Award and the Think Award.