Our Brand New Intro Project

We recently wrapped up our brand new intro project, and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Our retention rate was much higher: about 30 out of 70 new members stayed for over a month. And those who stayed felt much more empowered to contribute, joining our subteams with excitement!

We will definitely run this program again next fall. We will iron out the kinks and hopefully make it even more impactful than this year.

What was it?

Freshmen and other new members were sorted into small teams, each of which spent a few weeks creating a mini-bot using a Raspberry Pi and our own custom kits with parts repurposed from our Bot Battle back in 2016. Check out our GitHub repo to see the instructions.

They were even able to add their own personal twist. Some additions we saw were 3D-printing, LEDs, and complex maneuvers.

Why do this?

In past years, we’ve seen too many new members lose interest, largely due to a lack of training or feeling that they can contribute alongside older members.

So, over the summer, we devised this intro project to span the 2-3 weeks after our recruiting and info sessions. It onboards new freshmen by introducing required skills:

  • Mechanical: CAD, rapid prototyping
  • Electrical: breadboarding, soldering, basic ECE concepts
  • Computer Science: ROS, Python, Bash, SSH, Docker

The project demonstrated our team workflow and provided a great way for new students to meet us and each other. Based on the results, we’d say it was a success!

By, Samuel Rabinowitz, 10/4/2019