Schools collide, technology takes flight in Robotics collaboration

By J1 Reporter Maddie Genoways

Marian’s small but dedicated Robotics team recently gained some support in the form of a collaboration with Creighton Prep. While Robotics has been a recurring club for the past few years, the team has remained small in size with just five core members. Not due to lack of student commitment, but because of a more difficult problem: lack of time and space to work.

Robotics Club founder and Science Department Chair, Dr. Sharon Genoways, and Creighton Prep’s Robotics coach, Mr. Rich Mansfield, kicked off this collaboration for the first time at Prep on Sept. 7.

Genoways has always pushed for the advancement of Computer Science at Marian and has high hopes for this collaboration. “It gives us the ability to have access to machinery and equipment that we would not normally have access to, as well as more experienced members to help us when we get stuck,” Genoways said.

This idea of collaboration began, humorously enough, with a Marian student. “I saw a 

sister of a prospective student who I knew from coaching Robotics at St. Vincent de Paul… I recalled how great she was in our Robotics Club. She and her partner were by far the best builders and programmers in our group,” Mansfield said.

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Sophomore Jada Williams works on robot construction at Prep. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Genoways)

Mansfield reached out to schools with less access to expensive Robotics technology and space, such as Marian, Mercy and Duchesne for a Robotics collaboration, but Marian was the only respondee. “I saw what facilities I had to offer and thought it was a waste to only share with students at Prep. I then thought it would be great to share our really incredible space with other schools who may not have the facilities yet.”

“Prep invited Marian because the mission of their ToMorrow Lab is community outreach,” Genoways said. Marian Robotics Club members now have access to the services Creighton Prep’s ToMorrow Lab, a $1 million technology studio, has to offer.

Initially, students on both ends had their doubts. “My students were a little worried at first,” Mansfield said. “Some of them were saying lots of cliche things, like ‘are they going to paint the robot pink?’ and that sort of thing. However, since they’ve met the students from Marian, they have changed their tune and are excited to work with them in the spring.”

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Sophomore Anna Stefan and Senior Mint Suthamma at work in the CAD/Robotics Lab at Marian. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Genoways)

Marian students are equally as excited. “This is the first time I’ve joined the Robotics 

team, and I enjoy it! The Prep team helps us a lot. We had a meeting and brainstormed ideas together,” first-time Robotics member and foreign exchange senior, Sirimata (Mint) Suthamma said.

Technology programs at Marian aren’t finished expanding. If Robotics isn’t quite up your alley, then maybe consider joining drone racing, a new program that Marian will be participating in this year. The first drone scrimmage will take place on Nov. 23. The Robotics Club is always open to new members, and students can contact Dr. Genoways for more information.

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