It was clear to Clio Batali at her first team meeting for Bainbridge High’s Spartronics team that she stood out from the rest of the team.
“I was one of two freshmen, and the only girl, in a room of 40 bearded guys,” Batali said.
Batali, now a senior at BHS, is the captain for the school’s robotics team. And she’s a standout student for another reason: She has been accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Batali got her start in robotics as a freshman, following a biology teacher’s recommendation.
The robotics team works together over the course of six weeks to build a robot which can accomplish a variety of tasks, like hurling Wiffle balls, collecting and returning objects and climbing up a rope. Team members must problem solve throughout the build process in order to work around the inevitable issues that arise.
Batali said the challenges only served to make the team’s ultimate success even sweeter.
“The great memories are always the ones that are associated with successes that have been really hard-earned. This year for example, we did really well, but it was a hard season,” Batali said.
“We had one of the biggest teams we’ve had throughout our existence, with about 50 students and about 15 adult mentors. All of those are associated with challenges and opinions and all of these people have different ways of believing that they want to get things done,” Batali said.
Despite the challenges, she is thankful for the time she has been able to spend with her teammates.
“It’s been the biggest family that I’ve ever been a part of,” she said.
Even though Batali doesn’t plan to study robotics at MIT, she still appreciates the lessons learned during her time with the robotics team.
“Robotics has provided for me a way of being able to see how everything can fit together and how group dynamics work,” Batali said.
“I’ve been learning much more than just electrical engineering. I’ve been learning how to deal with people and learning how all those dynamics play together to get a finished product,” she added.
In the fall, Batali will begin her first quarter at one of the nation’s preeminent institutions of higher education, but don’t expect any freshman nerves from Batali.
“I don’t really get nervous. I feel like I should be,” Batali said.
The reasons for which most people would be intimidated by such an undertaking are the exact reasons why Batali chose to attend MIT.
“One of the reasons why I applied to that college, and why it’s at the top of my list, is because it’s known to be intense and it’s known to be a big, big undertaking. That’s really appealing to me,” she said.
”I don’t want to shy away from things because they’re hard. I prefer the idea of doing something because it’s more difficult or it requires more attention and interest.”
“If you give up too easily, that’s cheating yourself out of something and I don’t accept that,” she added.