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William’s Journey into Engineering and Robotics

 

How William turned a curiosity into a career path with help from robotics competitions and engineering classes.

 

William Moe at the Robotics competition, dressed in blaze costume

 

It started with a school announcement. There was an open house to learn more about and potentially join the robotics club, and seventh grader William Moe knew he had to attend. He had always been interested in engineering since his father is an engineer, but robots were especially intriguing to him. Little did he know that joining that club would start him on a path to regional and national competitions and a future as an engineer. 

District 191 is proud to have Robotics programming including teams who participate in competitions through FIRST, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Teams do more than just build and compete with robots, they have to organize, raise funds, find sponsors and market their team like a business. Starting out with the smaller robots of the FIRST Tech Challenge, William found that he loved being a part of a team and learning more about the trial and error process of coming up with creative solutions for the challenges of the competition. “A lot of it is hands-on learning and figuring out how to do things and solve problems,” said William. 

When William started at Burnsville High School (BHS) he dove into engineering classes, while also taking college in the schools and AP classes to earn college credits. Courses like Aerospace, Fabrication and Design, Principles of Engineering and Civil Engineering broadened his understanding of the concepts and applications of the world of engineering while he became more and more involved in the Blaze Robotics Team, moving up to the larger robots and tougher challenges of the FIRST Robotics Challenge. 

 “We had a lot of fun and we started performing really well,” said William. “My junior year was a big year and we really pulled together and ended up making the final bracket of the tournaments we competed in.”

During his senior year, the team kicked into high gear, ranking number one in the state of Minnesota, winning two regional tournaments and ultimately advancing to the 2023 FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston where they ended up finishing as fifth in the world. “It was amazing all around,” said William. “My big goal this year was to go to the world championships and we put in a lot of work and built the best robot we could. Houston was so surreal with stands full of people watching us and cheering.”

As he prepares to graduate from BHS, William is taking additional engineering classes including an independent study, Advanced Manufacturing, and the capstone course Engineering Design and Development. He will start at the University of Minnesota - Duluth in the fall to major in Engineering with credits transferring from his work at BHS. He is already scoping out different class projects and possible clubs to join and plans on volunteering at tournaments or becoming a mentor for a team some day. 

“People don’t always have the best view of robotics, but the amount of creativity and self expression that you can have through a robot is understated,” said Wiliam. “My advice for kids looking for their passion is to just try stuff! I am fortunate to have found robotics pretty early on and that the Pathways at BHS supported that.”

 "My advice for kids looking for their passion is to just try stuff! I am fortunate to have found robotics pretty early on and that the Pathways at BHS supported that."

- William Moe

william moe graduates from BHS

7th Grade

William hears an announcement for a robotics open house and joins the team.

8th Grade

Taking part in FIRST Tech Challenge competitions with his team, William gets further into the world of robotics.

9th Grade

High school brought more options so William took Aerospace and other engineering classes.

10th Grade

William takes fabrication and design classes, as well as woodworking to grow his building skills.

robot at robotics competition

11th Grade

With many of his robotics teammates having graduated, William steps up in a big way now on the FIRST Robotics Competition program with larger robots.

12th Grade

With college credits earned, William takes an independent study in engineering. 

2023

The Blaze Robotics Team is ranked No. 1 in Minnesota and heads to the 2023 FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston. They finished as the fifth place team in the world!

william moe with his team at robotics competition

The Future

William will attend University of Minnesota-Duluth to major in engineering and is looking to robotics clubs to join.