Aaron Belman-Wells already is thinking like an engineer and has designs on a big future. The Skyline junior wants to become an engineer, ideally in nuclear or aerospace, when he is done with school. And robotics is one of the activities that helped push him in that direction.
“Aside from the obvious benefit of getting hands-on practice designing and building, I think that learning to work well as a team in robotics, and especially with people who have a very different job than myself, will provide invaluable experience,” Belman-Wells says of the advantages of being on the Skyline robotics team.
Aaron, the son of Amy Tracy Wells and Dale Belman, was introduced to robotics in middle school.
“I learned about FIRST Robotics in 8th grade, and it seemed cool to me that these teams were able to build such complex and functional robots in a few weeks, and wanted to learn more about them,” he said.
“I enjoy the mental challenges that robotics provides, as it brings together several topics, such as imaginative designs and both strategic and tactical thinking in terms of what needs to be done with the robot. I also like that the robot is so permanent and that when it competes in the field, you know exactly what it was that you did to get it ready for competition.”
Belman-Wells, who attends the Card and Board Games Club as well as Junior States of America (political debate) at Skyline, says this year’s robotics team is both excited and confident.
“We came to the designs that we wanted to very quickly, and we’re moving through the prototyping and building phases rapidly, which bodes well for our competitions,” he says. “At the moment, we’re working on prototyping many of the mechanisms that we’ve designed and figuring out how to make them as efficient and simple to build as possible.”
This is Belman-Wells’ first year on the Skyline Robotics team, but he did work with another team for two years. He has primarily worked on fabrication each year, along with a notable amount of design work.
“This year, I’m working on the fabrication sub-team, which is in charge of actually constructing the robot (excluding the electrical components),” he says. “As part of this, I’ve done a fair amount of prototyping as well as designing the components.”
And his Skyline team has already experienced some success.
“So far this year, the big event was kickoff when we learned about the unique challenges that this year’s game would provide,” Belman-Wells says. “It’s also been really great to be able to watch as the robot slowly, piece-by-piece comes together.
“This year, our team has been trying to do as much as we can, and work on building components and designs if we think they’re helpful, trying to push the limits of our capabilities. I think that these ideas will help to keep us moving forward just so long as we make sure that we aren’t burned out before competitions start.”