|Robot Name:||The Felix Jing|
|Grade Level:||High School|
|Location:||Sherman Oaks, CA|
|World Skills Rank:||52|
21st Century Ninja is the brainchild of Nikaash Nigam and Ryan Kim, launching in 2017 when the two enrolled at Cleveland Humanities Magnet High School as freshmen. Both had previously been classmates at The Science Academy STEM Magnet. Seeing their new high school offered limited STEM programs, Nikaash, who was already a one-year VEX robotics veteran, asked Ryan to join him in starting a VEX robotics program at their high school. Although there were few resources and no financial support available at their humanities-focused school, Nikaash and Ryan managed to win themselves a spot at VEX State Tournament Championships in their first year as a team. As 21st Century Ninja garnered additional awards on the competition circuit, the team was awarded a $250,000 grant to help properly grow the VEX robotics program at their school. Last year, a new teammate, Brandon Marks, joined 21st Century Ninja for its second year of VEX Robotics. Each member brings to the table his individual strengths. Nikaash Nigam has had a passion for programming since the 6th grade and works well under pressure, perfect for the stress a driver faces during competition. Ryan Kim loves the challenge of a good design. His mechanical mind and detailed-oriented approach is ideal for building. Brandon Marks’ greatest strength is his strategic mind. He identifies the many possible challenges and develops a thorough approach to maximize opportunities and select strong alliances. Now, as they begin their third season (fourth for Nikaash), the powerful trio is prepared for an eventful year. Ryan and Brandon have developed a comprehensive robotics curriculum and will be teaching a robotics class next year with the intent to continue to growing the program and increasing the number of teams representing Cleveland High School. Nikaash has since left Cleveland High School but continues to be part of the team, supporting the expansion of the program. He currently mentors middle school teams and will be employed next year to teach students programming for robotics. He is also developing an "Introduction to Robotics" summer program geared towards elementary-aged kids. Together, Nikaash, Ryan, and Brandon make a dynamic team, passionate about robotics, with a commitment to share it with other like-minded enthusiasts.
Last season was incredible for this team. They proved that they were top in programming with a perfect auton at almost every competition. They proved that no matter what was happening with the robot, their driver will perform. They proved that under pressure, their designer and builder can do anything. But they were still learning the best team dynamic. It was at Nationals this past season that it all clicked. This season is all about design and strategy. Exploring creative design options, thinking outside the box, identifying potential challenges and coming up with a plan to combat it. This season is also about sharing the wealth. All three team members are passionate about mentorship, teaching, and ensuring that robotics enthusiasts have a platform to showcase their skills.