The Regional TSA Competition was co-hosted by Inglemoor and Tesla STEM High School on Jan. 12 at Inglemoor. All Inglemoor students who competed will have the opportunity to advance to the state competition or join another team.
Although regionals didn’t permanently eliminate TSA members from competing at the state level, junior and Director of Public Relations Arjun Simha said that many members still found the competition to be valuable.
“As many of our members were new this year and had never been in a competitive club, Regionals allowed members to see what the competition environment was like,” Simha said.
In addition to experience, sophomore Aditi Saraf, who participated in three events including Debating Technological Issues, Technology Problem Solving and Webmaster, said regionals helped her realize there is room for improvement.
“For states, I would definitely like to be more prepared in all of my events and I hope to qualify for nationals with a performance at states that I’ll be proud of,” Saraf said.
However, not all students were motivated by the competition. Junior Akhila Narayanan, who competed in Engineering Design, said it was disheartening to notice the higher budget that other TSA chapters have.
“I remember one team from Tesla STEM spent $600 on a solar-powered battery device that they built from scratch and it generated so much power,” Narayanan said. “We had to build our solar panel off of Amazon for $30 and it only generated 20 Watts.”
In spite of this, Narayanan said she chose her event because the skills she gains will be applicable in the future.
“I know I’m thinking about majoring in engineering in college so [everything] I’m learning now about research, collaboration and problem-solving are really going to come in handy,” Narayanan said.
Similarly, Simha said he believes that TSA has given him and many other students valuable skills for the future.
“The skills you learn through hands-on experimentation and self-initiated learning are the ones that you remember and learn the most from,” Simha said.
Other students pursued events in TSA that allows them to simply explore their interests. Junior Dennis Ni, a competitor in Music Production, said TSA has given him the chance to take on something he has always been interested in.
“Although [music production] isn’t something I plan on pursuing as a career, it gives me an incentive to discover a potential new hobby,” Ni said.
Saraf said overall, regionals was an exciting experience and she is looking forward to the rest of the competition season.
“While it was very rushed and a lot of running from one event to another, it was definitely one of the best days of my life,” Saraf said. “I got to work with my friends, learn new stuff and challenge myself in the process, which I hope to continue to do.”