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Cleveland.com: Beaumont School girls, members of strong robotics team, heading for Los Angeles

NTMA featured in Cleveland.com article.

Thursday, January 26, 2017
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- "It's fun, all the sparks, trophies and fighting," Beaumont School senior Margaret Schiffer said while considering, not the latest hit action adventure movie or a night at a mixed martial arts competition, but about something much closer to her heart.
 
No, it wasn't MMA, but another kind of bout to which Schiffer was referring -- those involving robots made by high school and college students and who do battle at local, regional and national competitions.
 
Schiffer, along with fellow Beaumont students Rosie Sirk, Kimberly Browske, Nora Duncan and Hayley Muhvic, make up Beaumont's proud robotics team.
 
The team has an illustrious history, winning awards in each of the competitions it has entered over the past six years. For example, in last year's national competition, the team finished fifth in the country, placing ahead of some college teams.
 
No shrinking violets, the Beaumont team was the highest placing all-girl team in the competition. And, "competition" is the key word when it comes to motivating the Beaumont team.
 
"We want to destroy all the other bots," said Browski, a senior from Highland Heights who is in her first year with the team.
 
Competition can take many forms. For example, Sirk, a sophomore who took part in her first competitions last school year, was as diligent as any NFL scout when she made up a book documenting the strengths and weaknesses of most all possible opponents in one of those competitions.
 
"I've never seen anything like this book," said Gretchen Santo, a biology teacher who coaches the robotics team, of Sirk's scouting report. "It blew me away it was so detailed and unique."
 
While preparing for this year's regionals, to be held April 30 at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, and the nationals, in May, Schiffer and Sirk will have the honor of traveling to Los Angeles to represent their school, team and the National Robotics League at the SolidWorks World Conference, to be held Feb. 5-8.
 
In L.A., the girls will participate in a mini-competition with their robot, Stobor ("robots" spelled backwards), and showcase their robot and computer-aided designs (CAD) for the 5,000 people expected to attend.
 
The Beaumont team members were invited to take part in the conference by National Tooling and Machining Association Director of Youth Engagement Bill Padnos.
 
"This is an international conference which gives our girls the unique opportunity to demonstrate their skills, show their leadership capabilities and showcase their superior communications skills, all while celebrating their successes with robotics," Santo said.
 
The team members built their robot in keeping with competition guidelines that say it must weigh no more than 15 pounds. Within those 15 pounds, the girls must engineer a mobile fighting machine capable of destroying other teams' robots.
 
Stobor features as its weapon a "spinner," a revolving, pure-steel mechanism that is capable of flipping enemy robots skyward and yes, causing sparks. Stobor's spinner turns at 8,000 revolutions per minute.
 
(Read more here.)