Student Features

Four PA Cyber students help lead robotics team

Sep 29, 2014

The four PA Cyber students who are members of the Titanium Titans FIRST Robotics team (L-R) Lucas Switzer, Ian Switzer, Vincenzo Travato and Sidney Switzer) were among leaders of the team that built and ran Chromethius in three tournaments last year.

PA Cyber students played key roles in building a robot named Chromethius that was a FIRST Robotics tournament runner-up last year. This year, they hope to help the team get to the World Championships, and are looking for other PA Cyber students to join their team.

The four PA Cyber students who are among 30 members of the Titanium Titans (FIRST Robotics Team No. 4467, based in Canonsburg) are siblings Lucas, Ian and Sidney Switzer of Volant, and Vincenzo Trovato from Pittsburgh. All are active members of the PA Cyber GATE program.
FIRST Robotics teams build and operate four-by-six-foot robots to compete against others at regional tournaments. More than 3,000 teams and 400,000 students are expected to compete in March 2015.

The Titanium Titans started with 14 high school students in 2013, winning the Rookie Inspiration Award for team organization, recruiting and robotic design in its first tournament at the 2013 FIRST FRC Pittsburgh Regional. It merged with the team from the Western Area Career and Technology Center (WACTC) in Canonsburg that summer and kept the Titanium Titans name. WACTC is a consortium of nine school districts in Washington County.

In its second year, March 2014, the Titans reached the quarterfinals of the Pittsburgh regional and placed second overall out of 50 teams in an off-season tournament at Morgantown.

Lucas Switzer was on the programming team for the 2014 competition robot and was part of the team which drove it during competition. Lucas programmed a scouting software that the team relied upon during the competitions to generate strategy.

Ian Switzer was on the CAD team that designed the robot in high detail. In a virtual environment, the team tested the robot's performance, then created manufacturing plans for the build team to follow. During competition Ian was also on the scouting team.

Sidney Switzer was not officially on the team last year, but did film game matches to enable analysis of opponents and performance, and has developed training videos. On this year's team, she is working on fundraising, communications and website development.

Vincenzo Trovato worked on programming and scouting, and in particular the electronic signaling system that controlled the robot.

"Cyber school students know how to use computers better than most people. They can find information quicker. They are also very disciplined and independent workers. The environment they are used to working in on a daily basis helps make them particularly successful at Titanium Titans," said Lucas.

Sidney said the Titans will host an open house prospective members in grades 7-12 on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at WACTC. Team membership for the year closes Oct. 15.

Trovato said, "being on a FIRST Robotics team is a great way to learn about teamwork and opens up a variety of opportunities for students who want to pursue careers in engineering and STEM fields," noting that many scholarships are available for those involved in the robotics competition.

"This is a group with public, cyber, private, and home school students. Everyone is motivated to learn. Whether you end up going into a technical field or not, there is something here for everyone, and everyone is accepted," said Sidney. She may be emailed at SidSwitz@GMail.com. The team's website is at www.titaniumtitans.org.

Media Contact

Casie Colalella / casie.colalella@pacyber.org

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.