Science Hill Robotics team building a firm foundation

Members of the Science Hill Topper Robotics team have made great strides this year, finishing runner-up at the Smoky Mountain Regionals in Knoxville in March.

Members of the Science Hill Topper Robotics team are accustomed to getting their hands dirty, but they’ve taken on a new task of building the foundation of a top-notch program.

Recent indications are they are having great success. The Science Hill team competed in two competitions this year, finishing in fourth place in the Miami Valley Regional out of 51 teams in Cincinnati. They followed that up with a second-place finish out of 28 teams in the Smoky Mountain Regionals in Knoxville in March.

“I am so proud of the growth that our team made this year,” said Samantha Wilder, a sophomore at Science Hill who serves as the team’s project manager. “We really wanted to help build the foundation for the future of this program, and I think we are really starting to see it pay off. We appreciate all the support we’ve received, and we are always open for more collaboration with our community.”

While being on a robotics team can sound intimidating, the opportunity provides students with the chance to be on a team and collaborate with one another to accomplish a goal while learning together.

“Even if you don’t know anything about robotics, there is still a place for you on the team,” said Science Hill STEM teacher Brad Gentry, who coaches the robotics team with Liberty Bell science teacher April Mullikin and Science Hill automotive teacher Jeff Kleven. “We have students that do marketing and other things. They may never turn a wrench on the robot, but they are crucial to our team’s success.”

Wilder said being part of the team has helped her come out of her shell.

“I used to not be social, and now I know how to lead people, to communicate with them, and how to help them however they need it,” Wilder said. “Some people learn responsibility and some people learn other things.”

The group found great success this year after finishing in 40th place last year at the Smoky Mountain Regionals. They said having the ability to go to two tournaments this year was extremely helpful. However, they feel like they still have plenty of room to grow.

“We’d love to see some community collaboration,” Mullikin said. “We would love to bring in some people who can help our students dream bigger and think outside the box.”

Any community members or businesses who would like to donate their time are encouraged to contact Mullikin at


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