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Bella Brunner: Robotics Genius

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Bella Brunner working on her robot Axel Rose

Bella Brunner working on her robot Axel Rose

Bella Brunner working on her robot Axel Rose

Elaina Kennedy, Staff Writer

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Freshman Bella Brunner has given a name for herself in the Vex Robotics community by winning competitions left and right after being in the program for two years. Brunner became interested in Vex  Robotics when she was exposed to robots for the first time, seeing other kids her age build robots made her realize she could do that also.

“I was able to see robots doing amazing things that fascinated me,” Brunner said. “I knew that I wanted to go down the robotics path.”

At her past competitions, Brunner has won one tournament champion award, three design awards and one Energy Award. In her most recent competition, Brunner won a design award for her engineer notebook which has sketches and notes about the process of building her robot, named Axel Rose. Axel Rose, Brunner’s robot, was built to pick up small yellow cones and stack on bigger mobile goals. Brunner works on her robot 30-40 hours a week.

Brunner is coached by Seth McGrew who teaches Tech Education at Cimarron Middle School. Since starting the Vex team two years ago, Brunner’s skills have soared.

Bella’s engineering skills have improved exponentially.  For only being her second year in the program, she can engineer and fabricate a robot from scratch without much help,” McGrew said. “She is now able to program a robot by herself, whereas I had to help her last year.”

Brunner typically competes, programs, and designs her robots alone. She has had to work harder than her teammates in order to beat teams with two or three boys.

“It’s difficult being the only high school girl. The boys are hesitant to work with me,” Brunner said.

   Recently Brunner has started to work with another teammate, freshman Travis Clark. The two started working together due to Clark expressing the enjoyment of programming and Brunner needing a programmer on her team of one. Brunner and Clark will be going to Robotics State as partners in Shawnee on Feb. 16 and 17.

“She is really good at the mechanical part of robotics and she is really fun to work with,” Clark said.

     Brunner has been involved in the STEM  since she was younger, building creations out of materials she’s find around the house.

     “ I’ve done four STEM summer camps- I took a mechanical engineering class through Duke TIP at Southwestern, a girls STEM camp at Francis Tuttle, a Vex class through iDTech at Miami University and Stanford,” Brunner said.

       Brunner is a prime example of a young girl involved in STEM, it is often said that girls are not often involved, but Bella proves that statement wrong.

Contact Elaina Kennedy at [email protected]

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