This article was published in the Ka La’s January 2014 printed edition.
Competing as Team Hawai’i Robotics led by adviser and Assistant Professor Norman Takeya, students competed in various phases of the competition with students from different countries across Asia.
The students were exposed to the Japanese culture, made new friends with international students, and experienced competing on a world-class level. Honolulu Community College was the only two-year college represented in the competition and second team from Hawai‘i. The other was from Waiakea High School.
“Although we didn’t place in the top three, I feel very proud of myself and the team for placing 6th and competing in general. We were competing with and did better than some four-year colleges,” said Mabel Wong, a Construction Management student who built a robot that danced Psy’s Gangnum Style.
Jasmine Hoapili, a Honolulu CC student and ‘IKE Scholar, found similarities with the Hawaiian and Japanese cultures.
“When we visited Atsuta shrine it made me feel respectful, just like the spiritual sites on Oʻahu. It created a desire for me to embrace my culture and learn more about it. Similar to protocols that we do before and after entering a spiritual place, the Japanese do the same,” she said.
Team Hawai‘i Robotics is comprised of students from various University of Hawai‘i campuses including Mānoa, Honolulu CC, Leeward CC, and Kapi‘olani CC. The team has qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championships to be held in Anaheim, California. They will be competing with 80 other collegiate teams from around the world in April 2014. Last year Team Hawai’i came in 15th placeranking U.S. team.
Its offices are located on the ground floor of Building 2, just around the corner from the book store.