Albuquerque robotics team prepares for competition in Japan

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In a month, some bright minds will be headed overseas for a competition like no other. They are New Mexico’s only robotics team to go to RoboRAVE International in Japan.

KRQE News 13 met up with the dedicated group of students who stay after school for an activity that’s educational and exciting at Albuquerque School of Excellence.

“Usually when you’re first starting out, you buy a kit and it has the brain, some Lego pieces and some basic motors and sensors,” said Madalynn Nilsson, a member of the team.

They showed us a robot named Ziggy. He got that nickname because he was zigzagging all around at first after they programmed him.

This is about much more than creating a cool toy.

“We have to program our robot to follow a black line,” explained Lillian Keovilay, a tenth grader who’s on the robotics team. She said the objective is “to be as precise as possible.”

That acronym you hear a lot about in education these days, STEM or STEAM, is how the students make this happen.

“Science, Technology, Engineering, (Art) and Math. and robots include all of them,” said Umedi Rasulzoda, their sponsor and science teacher.

Dr. Edward Orsun, assistant principal, said, “There’s a lack of interest in those areas. By emphasizing the college readiness, and the STEM or STEAM education, we want to merge these two things at once.”

There’s no lack of interest, though, among these students who deal with light or color sensors in completing their robot.

“To me, they love it,” said Orsun.

Last year, four students from Albuquerque School of Excellence competed in Japan, taking eighth place in the global competition.

This year, eight students will spend two days doing programming, and then on the third day, their robots will go into action.

“This year it is more about precision,” said Keovilay.

The school is looking for more funding for the RoboRAVE trip, which is scheduled for November 11.

If you’re interested, you can contact the Albuquerque School of Excellence at (505) 312-7711. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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