A Letter From A Student

My Time At Zebra Robotics

By: Aditya Shah

Zebra Robotics has been a great learning environment. They have set opportunities for me that I can never have imagined. In a few years’ time, I have challenged myself to think critically and effectively at competitions like First Lego League (FLL) and Zone 1, while learning to respect my peers and my opponents.

When I started to attend Zebra Robotics in September of 2016, I went to the Robotics 400 classes, having no past training or use of the technology. I still remember my first class, one of the head coaches, Coach Satish. He understood that everyone in that class had little to no past experience with using Lego Robotics. The robot was explained carefully, starting with hardware, and moving onto the parts. Coach Satish simply and wonderfully explained the components and how effective they can be when combined with simple code. I was challenged to think outside of the box while knowing I would not be judged even if I failed, because of Zebra Robotics’ welcoming atmosphere. I was then chosen to move onto competing in one of the FLL teams.

My time at FLL was captivating. I was able to program, innovate and learn extraordinary things in 6 months with my team, the Wave Riders. I traveled to Seneca College, the University of Waterloo, and Rick Hanson Secondary School for my FLL competitions, I have also been to Montreal for Zone 1. We worked diligently and eliminated all conflicts with consensus. The process for FLL is the best part, making each day unique. We were able to make a strong bond with each other because of the process. Though the idea of our product becoming reality was terrifying, we used that for our inspiration. Competition days were hectic, but the rush of adrenaline is always exciting. Presentations on these days helped improve my concentration, performance, and confidence for the future. Overall, FLL engages everyone’s mind.

Zebra Robotics’ has many benefits for the students. Before I came to Zebra Robotics, I wouldn’t be able to express my thoughts clearly and I couldn’t adapt to certain situations. I learned to become flexible with my new, developed skills. Flexibility is important for competitions because they require you to complete a variety of tasks efficiently. This skill allowed me to adapt and problem solve. Robotics helps students realize their passions and what they are able to do. Kids who learn robotics early on will be more likely to understand their future pathways.  I have also learned to be a team player and a leader as I learned to communicate clearly. Furthermore, robotics has thought me to respect my peers. I was able to learn the essential skills needed for future work at Zebra Robotics and I learned how to use them for competitions and problem-solving.

Its Not Just About Winning

By Sadia Sheikh


Competition can be as daunting as it is rewarding, so why encourage your kids to compete? In an increasing tech and teamwork driven world, competition provides a unique opportunity to acquire both skill sets. Typical robotics competition preparation ranges between 2-4 months, during which kids learn to share, how to work with new members of the team, and respect other ideas. Impact data collected over 10 years by the FIRST Robotics Competition indicates more than 90% improvement in kid’s problem-solving, time management and conflict resolution skills upon completion of the program. Time management, prioritizing and sharing the workload are all essential skills kids learn that can be applied to any field of work. These soft skills, so desired by employers everywhere, are key in making positive and memorable impressions.

By giving kids the chance to work as a member of a team on the development of a product or idea, they learn firsthand the value of patience, as well as losing and winning with dignity. The invaluable friendships they make are based on shared passions and experiences. According to the American Society for Engineering Education, there is a disparity between the communication skills STEM students learn in schools and those that are applicable in industry. Competitions help to bridge this gap by fostering a sense of agency in participants based on perseverance and hands-on application of knowledge. This type of all-encompassing development is a gift that never stops giving!


[1] 2011 FIRST® Tech Challenge? FIRST® Robotics Competition Evaluation and 2013 FIRST® LEGO® REV 1/17 League Evaluation, Brandeis University.

[2] Donnell J.A., Aller B.M., Alley M., and Kedrowicz A.A., Why industry says that engineering graduates have poor communication skills: What the literature says, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings, pp. 13.