Insights & Media

Insights & Media

Nickie Nie Shines in SAS Magazine!

March 23

The LearningLeaders Team recently had some time to catch up with star LearningLeaders debater, Nickie Nie, an 8th grader at Shanghai American School’s Puxi Campus.  After being featured on the cover of the most recent Eagle Review, we sat down with her for a brief interview about her experiences in engineering at robotics.  Read on for the full interview!

1) How did you become interested in engineering and robotics?

Honestly, I had not expected myself to enjoy robotics this much at first. Well, because until 7th grade, I have actually never programed, built or worked with a robot before. I remember reading about a robotics team on the morning announcement, and I decided to give it a try, as I have always liked working with lego and taking things apart. I remember back in elementary school, I took my pens and mechanical pencils apart at least 10 times whenever my teacher was giving instructions (this is the reason as to why I use wooden pencils). When I finally started robotics, I really liked it, since it was a very interesting activity that involved many challenges that I faced together with my team.

2) What do you enjoy most about robotics and the competitions?

Out of all the areas involving the robot, I definitely liked the more hands-on part of it — the building aspect. I liked to put the pieces together (and take them apart as well, when I realized that I made a mistake or could try something new) much more than the other areas, for example, programming. I also extremely liked working with my team to create a project (presentation) as well on a topic that was expected from the robotics competition. Our team did really well in dividing our focus, because the presentation was worth just as much points as the robot itself.

3) What was your experience like traveling around Shanghai and Hangzhou for tournaments and competitions?

The experience is always very enjoyable, because despite how often our team argued about different aspects, ranging from the design of the robot, to one being uncooperative when building the robot, or ideas that contradicted each other when it came to the project, we still worked very well together as a team at the tournaments. We supported each other whenever it was our turn to demonstrate our ability, we gave each other equal credits and made sure no one was ever excluded. We also made sure that the experience in these competitions was also very memorable for others as well, we helped other teams when they needed it and we offered suggestions as to how they could improve for the next time.

4) Why are certain groups successful in completing challenges while others have a harder time doing them?

Though I have only been in robotics for 2 years, I have noticed which teams have often done better in completing challenges. They often work extremely hard, or they have had previous experience in programming, but most of all, they need to have a cooperative team. My team has never been afraid of cheering on each other, supporting each other through hard times and struggles, and facing everything together. We often pair up to finish tasks that are given by each other, and we always try to exceed all expectations when accomplishing the task and we never hesitate to ask for help from each other.

5) Do you hope to continue studying engineering and robotics in the future?

After this summer, I will be moving onto high school, and it will be a very stressful time for me. I am not entirely sure if I will continue robotics and if any engineering courses do come up during high school, I will definitely show interest in taking them if they are suitable for me. However, I will definitely do something related to engineering in high school, and I look forward to discovering the aspect of engineering I feel most passionate about.

Rock on, Nickie!  We can’t wait to hear about your future successes!

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