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District 308 Student Headed to World Robotics Championship in Qatar

Sep 24, 2015 04:02PM ● By Steven Jack

Jensie Coonradt (right) and Kaiya Hollister make up Team RoboGal. (Photo courtesy GoFundMe)

Wheatlands Elementary student Jensie Coonradt is headed to the World Robot Olympiad in Doha, Qatar in November after a win last weekend at the National Olympiad tournament in Michigan. 

Jensie is a member of Team RoboGals along with partner Kaiya Hollister, a student at Aurora's John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School. The two met about four months ago through a LEGO robotics program put on by Chasewood Learning, which also hosts after school STEM classes in several School District 308 elementary schools. 

"After meeting for the first time in June, 2015 Kaiya and Jensie became friends right away," says a message on the GoFundMe page set up to help pay for their upcoming trip to the Middle East. 

"They are a perfect match with Kaiya's mechanical engineering aptitude and Jensie's superb programming skills. That same day they registered for the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) competition with the team name, RoboGals. Four months later, they are National WRO Champions invited to go to the World Championships in Qatar!"


The WRO is a worldwide LEGO Robotics competition that will include teams from over 50 different countries. The girls' path to success has come in the Regular Elementary category in which the girls designed, built and programmed a LEGO robot that navigates a 94 feet by 40 feet playing field, pushing blocks along the way and dropping ping pong balls in a scoring area. 

The team with the highest score wins, with the fastest time around the course breaking all ties. Kaiya and Jensie scored a perfect 100 at both the state regional competition in August and the National Championship last weekend. They also finished the course twice as fast as their nearest competitor.  


"Over the last 4 months, Kaiya and Jensie worked almost every day prototyping, building and testing their robot," says the GoFundMe message. "Pizza was a dinner staple and other priorities took a back seat."

The goal for the GoFundMe fundraiser is $8,000 — the majority of which will be used to pay for the costly flights to Qatar. So far, Team RoboGals has raised about 25 percent of that goal in just a few days.