Reha Mathur (11) and Jayer Yang (11) received nominations for the First Dean’s List award, a national robotics competition dedicated to members of the robotics community who have shown exemplary work on their school’s robotics team.
Before advancing to the national competition for the award, Mathur and Yang were selected as two of three candidates from the New York City region. Both students, along with Computer Science and Robotics Department Chair Danah Screen, will travel to Detroit for the First Dean’s List award ceremony today
Mathur has been an integral part of the school’s First Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics team and was unanimously nominated by her teammates, Arden Chen (11), a fellow member of FTC, said.
Mathur’s teammates wrote an essay about her, detailing her position on the team and what leadership qualities she has, Chen said. Mathur sets an excellent example as a team leader for younger members to look up to, he said.
“I’ve come to see not only have I seen her incredible work ethic, but also her ability to teach a lot of the new members of the team important skills,” Chen said.
Screen described Mathur’s nomination as a “no brainer.” “She’s set a standard for all the underclassmen that you can do more and the seasons can be more of a challenge if you put in the work,” Screen said.
Mathur has incorporated her skills into other aspects of the team, especially assisting younger members, Screen said. She thinks that this added to Mathur’s growth in terms of her leadership in the last three years.
“She’s been very intentional in making sure that everyone on all levels felt comfortable with software,” Screen said. “Not only that, but she has also helped with the other divisions, whether it was getting an engineering notebook together in operations or learning how to put together the robot.”
Mathur said she herself was quite surprised when she heard that her team had nominated her.
“It was really nice of the team to do that, and I’m sure there are other people who deserve it more,” she said. “But I have a real compassion for robotics and I love working hard on it.”
Her love for robotics is very apparent in her work, said Chen. “Her contributions to the team have won us championships this year and in previous years,” he said.
Yang joined the school’s First Robotics Competition (FRC) robotics team in sophomore year, and has been heavily involved in both the school’s team and the national robotics league ever since, co-president of FRC Arul Kapoor (12) said.
According to Kapoor, Yang has been working with the national FRC organization to help plan robotics events in New York for students of all ages. Additionally, Yang is the assistant safety captain on the school’s team.
“No one got hurt this year, thanks to the safety culture that Jayer helped build,” Kapoor said. Like Mathur, Yang is a mentor to younger members on the team and is always reaching out to them with advice, he said.
Yang was also surprised to receive the nomination and has the seniors to thank, he said.
“Robotics has helped me grow as a person and work with other people for a common goal,” Yang said. “It’s nice to be a part of something that I enjoy doing so much.”
Yang thinks he was selected in part because of the time and energy he put into the club, which was probably noticed by the team captains, he said.
“It’s a combination of his mentorship, technical ability, and motivation to help FRC in New York that put him on the top of this list for this award,” Kapoor said.