By Kenny Patterson & Humza Syed
We sat down for a brief interview with one of the founding members of the Roborioles, Mark Rodgers. We asked him about his experience with the Avon Robotics team and how that how influenced and benefited his career choice and future.
Mark graduated from Avon High School in 2012, the first year of the Roborioles. Due to this, Mark was only able to participate in the club for one year; however, Mark was the only senior on the team at the time and the captain of the electronics team. Mark went on to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and graduated with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Robotics. After his years of studying at Rose, he is now a machine design engineer at Jennerjahn Machines, which is based in Matthews, Indiana. As a machine design engineer, Mark assist in designing and building custom machines that deal “roll rewinding”, such as in cash registers. Mark also works with vinyl decals which requires a robotic packaging line, Mark’s primary focus. Other than his career, Mark mentors another Robotics team out of Muncie, Indiana; Team 720 – The Fixed Gears.
Mark says that what he learned while being a part of the Robotics Team has been extremely helpful in his field of work. He regularly implements STEM knowledge and application into his work, such as calculus for failure analysis, gear ratios, solid modeling computer software, and much more.
The robotics team was a huge source of guidance for career choice and future planning, Mark says. He claims he “had no idea” what he wanted to do after graduating high school. His involvement with the Roborioles and Project Lead the Way classes helped open his eyes to a new side of engineering as well as aided him in finalizing his plans for the future.
Although Mark was the captain of the electronics team, he helped out in all areas of the team. From replacing burned out jaguars to helping design t-shirts, Mark became very involved with the Roborioles. His involvement with the team gave Mark an environment to develop and practice certain skills that he has found invaluable in the collegiate and professional world. Mark said that one of the most impressionable and important skills he observed during his time with the robotics team was the impeccable and gracious professionalism that FIRST Robotics is known for. Although he was only able to go to one competition with the team, he noticed just how friendly and professional everyone was. Teams who compete against each other on the field were readily willing to lend tools, parts, or simply extend a helping hand.
To end, we asked Mark if he had any advice for the class of 2017 as they prepare for graduation and their future. Mark stated “Go to Rose! But in all seriousness, it’s crucial that you visit all the colleges that you apply to, really get a feel for what you want in a university. Also, apply for any scholarships you can, even the little ones. They may not seem like much, but it adds up very quickly.” Without a doubt, his involvement with the Roborioles has benefitted Mark immensely, and we would like to thank him for sitting down with us for the interview!