A Lausanne Middle School girls' robotics team brought home second place in a local engineering competition that includes public and private schools from all over Shelby County.
The second place team, T.A.R.T. (The Awesome Robot Team), consisted of Bentley Culbreth '24, Jyotika Maharaj '23 and Madison McDermott '23.
The Immortals, consisting of Sarah Przybyszewski '25, Dima Chemaitilly '24, Mackenzie Mink '24 and Maisie Riegel '25 also competed in the competition.
The event is in its 5th year, and this is Lausanne's 4th year competing. It is sponsored by Medtronic, and gives middle school teams from around the Memphis area the opportunity to compete in robotics. The contestants use EV3 robotics kits, and the teams are given the chance to design, build and program their robot.
This year, they were given three different challenges. For the first challenge, the girls had to use a color sensor to detect different colors as they went through a course. For the second challenge, the girls had to program a series of turns to navigate through a long course. For the third challenge, the girls had to use a sensor to follow a black line, find an astronaut figure and carry it back to a designated box.
The Lausanne teams began meeting in January. They met one to two times per week until early May before competing on Saturday at the University of Memphis.
"Two really cool things about our teams are that they are all girls and that Lausanne teams are the only student-mentored teams in the program. When Lausanne started this program four years ago, it was designed to allow more girls to have opportunities to be involved in robotics, and I have really enjoyed getting to see some students who may not have otherwise had the confidence or felt they had the opportunity to do robotics excel and find a new interest or talent. In addition, all of the other teams are mentored by teachers or parents. However, our team has always been sponsored by high school students, so that is another unique feature. Another student started the program, but then when she graduated I was able to continue the program, and now Dalia and Elaina will be able to continue it. I have also really enjoyed getting to see this legacy continue," student coach Anna Hori '18 said.
Anna Hori '18 was the student coach. Elaina Przybyszewski '21 and Dahlia Chemaitilly '21 served as assistant coaches.
This was Dahlia's fourth competition and first as a freshman mentor for a group of fifth and sixth graders.
Dahlia said she was encouraged to join the team by a former coach and Lausanne student, Aynsley Hartney, who had noticed her interest in science and mathematics.
"The program was started to encourage girls, like me, to get involved in fields related to STEM. Aynsley was an amazing mentor and I truly enjoyed learning from her. It has also been a great experience to grow with this program under Anna Hori’s leadership and Mrs. Bullard’s guidance. I am excited that I will be given the opportunity next year to co-lead the program with my friend, Elaina Przybyszewski, and we will hopefully inspire more girls to get involved in STEM-related activities similar to how we were inspired by our own mentors," Dahlia said. "While I am still figuring out which studies I will pursue, participating in robotics allowed me to interact with engineers and gain experience with programming and more generally, the scientific processes of problem-solving and troubleshooting."
Meaningful relationships providing opportunities to succeed in a challenging environment. It's the Lausanne Way, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for all of these ladies.