Broadneck High School’s robotics club and Technical Student Association (TSA) isn’t “just about STEM,” said Katheryne Lockhart, junior and co-president of robotics at BHS. “[The club] helps in such a diverse way; you’re able to learn more about leadership and yourself.”
The two clubs include more than 60 members, and both are run by Maryland’s TSA Advisor of the Year, Christopher Olsen. TSA allows students to compete in architecture, video game design, photography and fashion design among other categories of a broad spectrum during Maryland’s annual TSA competition.
During last year’s competition, three Broadneck students brought home awards. Troy Spencer, junior and president of BHS’s TSA, achieved first place in architecture with his model of a sustainable home that emulated the theme of saving energy. Similarly, sophomore George Witt and junior Josh Bowman won first place in video game design. Overall, the club’s competing robot, named Do You Even Lift, advanced to the national competition.
“Technology is the future,” said Witt, co-president of robotics. “It’s great to see like-minded people who have the same interests working together.”
To students, forming friendships is as rewarding as the competitions.
“I feel like I can really be me,” said Lizbet Herrera, junior and vice president of community outreach. “It’s a comfortable and friendly environment, and Mr. Olsen is an important part. He’s very supportive.”
This is Olsen’s third year as TSA adviser and the third year the club has been available at Broadneck. He’s excited for the students to “explore different fields and competitions, allowing them to challenge themselves. It’s a true student-run organization.”
In addition to working together to build and program projects, students handle the business side of TSA by reaching out to potential sponsors and writing grants. “Sponsors keep the club running,” said Herrera, referring to their 10 sponsors, which include the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). The organizations rely on their sponsors for buying expensive parts through VEX, a competition platform and parts distributor, since the county doesn’t offer a budget to TSA.
To contact and learn more about the BHS robotics club and TSA, visit www.broadneckrobotics.com or find it on social media @broadneckrobotics.