Credit: Nicholas Roy
The Charging Champions was one of more than 4,000 international teams that recently competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. The competition ...

Credit: Nicholas Roy
The Charging Champions was one of more than 4,000 international teams that recently competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. The competition ...

Credit: Nicholas Roy
SCE engineer Juan Castaneda recently attended the FIRST Robotics competition.

Credit: Nicholas Roy
The Charging Champions was one of more than 4,000 international teams that recently competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. The competition ...

Credit: Nicholas Roy
More than 72 teams competed in the 2015 FIRST Robotics West Super Regionals competition recently in Oakland.

Credit: Nicholas Roy
The Charging Champions was one of more than 4,000 international teams that recently competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. The competition ...

Credit: Nicholas Roy
More than 72 teams competed in the 2015 FIRST Robotics West Super Regionals competition recently in Oakland.

Credit: Nicholas Roy
The Charging Champions named their robot "Breaking Bad."

FIRST Robotics Competition Inspires STEM Education

Funded in part by Edison International, the multi-state regional event had more than 72 teams competing.

  • By Tami Bui
  • April 03, 2015

AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad” may no longer be airing new episodes, but “Breaking Bad” still showed up at the 2015 FIRST (For Inspiration of Science & Technology) Robotics West Super Regionals competition recently in Oakland.

“Breaking Bad” is the name of the robot built by the Charging Champions team. The six-member group is comprised of middle and high school students from various schools in Irvine.  

“It was like our creation coming to life,” said team member Anish Neervannan about the three-day competition. “What I enjoyed most about the competition was building and programming the robot, and seeing all of the robot's components come to life on the playing field.”

The Charging Champions was one of more than 4,000 international teams that recently competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. The competition for students in grades 7-12 helps to engage them in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math).

The idea is to design, build and program robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design and other real-world accomplishments.

Charging Champions coach Raj Neervannan formed the team with school and family friends. It was a way for the parents and kids to bond beyond just sports or other school activities.

“Building robots seemed like a fun way to do that,” he said. “In this process, we have been able to share the real world skills with our kids, such as raising funds, connecting with our community and instilling values of team work and accountability.”

Edison International was a sponsor of the FIRST Robotics competitions and FIRST Tech Challenge through the initiative “Get Into Energy, Get Into STEM.” Supported by the Edison Electric Institute through 11 electric companies, the initiative is managed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development.

The funding covered registration for more than 180 new FIRST Tech teams. Of these teams, the Charging Champions was the only team in Southern California Edison’s service territory to advance to the 2015 West Super Regionals. SCE provided an additional $1,000 toward the Charging Champions’ travel costs and upgrades to their robot.

But at the end of the three-day competition, this “Breaking Bad” was not meant to be. The Charging Champions did not advance to the world championships, but the team gained some valuable life experiences.

“Being on the Charging Champions has taught me a lot about teamwork, what it means to work together to build a system and solve problems,” said Anish. “We didn’t win, but next year we’ll come back stronger.” 

Leave a Comment

We welcome your feedback and comments. We ask that you please keep them constructive, civil and respectful. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother, then there is a good chance it falls outside of our guidelines. Please read our comment policy here.

Related Stories

Urban Farm Gets TLC From Volunteers

Urban Farm Gets TLC From Volunteers

‘FlameSniffers’ Ready for Fire Season in Santa Barbara County

‘FlameSniffers’ Ready for Fire Season in Santa Barbara County

Providing a Pathway to STEM for Kids

Providing a Pathway to STEM for Kids

Top Stories

Planners Help Communities Keep Their Lights On

Planners Help Communities Keep Their Lights On

Power Back Up in Five

Power Back Up in Five

Don’t Let Caller ID Spoofing Hang You Up

Don’t Let Caller ID Spoofing Hang You Up

Edison Energy Group and its subsidiaries are not the same company as Southern California Edison, the utility, and they are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

© 2017 Edison International

© 2017 Edison International

Download and Use Policy

This Site is owned by Edison International. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the content featured or displayed on this Site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, data, photographic images, moving images, sound, illustrations, computer code, trade marks and logos and the selection and arrangement thereof (referred to in this section as the "Content") is owned by Edison International, its licensors or its third-party image partners and all rights in relation to the Content are reserved. All Content is protected by copyright, trade dress, moral rights, trade mark rights and other laws relating to the protection of intellectual property. You may use the Content for your personal, or news-related, non-commercial use, but you may not otherwise reproduce, modify or in any way commercially exploit the Content.

Accept Decline