Our team started with one of our students being invited to attend the FIRST Minnesota North Star Regional by her grandfather, a mentor on team #2977. After being inspired by the mission, community, and the competition, she decided it would be great to have a FIRST Robotics team in her area. She began with her school’s engineering club and writing a proposal to the principal. After gaining permission, it became apparent that the team needed a coach, mentors, and funding. With the help of her mother, they applied for the JCPenney’s grant for rookie teams. After contacting the regional director for this information, they connected with a student at Iowa State University looking to start a FRC team. The team then started having meetings before gaining students to work out the details like how the team would run and space and funding issues. After this, the team was ready to add students. They spread the news that Ames, Iowa had brought back a FIRST Robotics team, years after losing their original one. Neutrino then gained the dedicated mentors, students and coach that made the team a success.
After the 2012 season was over, the team’s main workspace at Ames High School was disbanded, so alternative plans were needed. Fortunately enough for the team, they were invited to join the Story County 4-H Program as Iowa’s FIRST 4-H FRC Team. 4-H offered a vast and diverse platform of resources Team Neutrino could tap into. The team was also excited to partner up with ISU Extension Outreach for the years to come.
This year the team used the workspace provided by ISU Extension Outreach, Boyd Lab and Mechatronics. This was a larger workspace than given by Ames High, so while losing their support was definitely not helpful, it was not the demise of the team. They were concerned for the future of the team, though, because most of the members were seniors this year. Fortunately, becoming affiliated with 4-H opened our team to members from towns other than Ames, and there is a very strong FLL community in and surrounding Ames. Many FLL veterans joined, and the legacy of the team continued.
In 2013 the team attended both the North Star regional and the Kansas city regional, reaching the finals in both. They were not invited to Champs, but they were invited to the Indiana Robotics Invitational (IRI), one of the most competitive off-season competitions. There they were proud to compete against some of the teams who won at Champs, and though they did not reach the finals, they had fun nonetheless.
In 2014, Team Neutrino competed in the Kansas City regional and the North Star regional again, and earned quarterfinalist status at both. At the North Star regional, the team was awarded Engineering Inspiration, which is given to the team with outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering within their community. This award earned Team Neutrino a paid trip to the World Championships in St. Louis!
In St. Louis we had a win-loss record of 6-4, and during alliance selection we were picked to be the 4th robot on the 4th seed alliance (in the Newton division)! We ended up being semifinalists on the Newton field (similar to the Sweet 16 in March Madness).
For our 2015 season, Team Neutrino went to the Central Illinois and North Star regional competitions. The team placed as quarterfinalists in both, and team member Dagney Paskach was awarded the Dean’s List Finalist Award at North Star. During the off-season event Cowtown Throwdown, Team Neutrino was chosen by the #2 alliance, who ended up winning the competition.