Team Suriname 2018

Robotics Team Suriname taking part in the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge in Mexico City consists of 3 students, Seth Tjokrodimedjo (18), Joel Naarendorp (17) and Lesley Uiterloo (18). All three team members happen to be pursuing technical vocational education at the Nature Technical Institute of Suriname (NATIN). Seth fulfills the role of team Captain and robot driver, Joel is the team’s spokesperson and second robot driver and Lesley is the team robot programmer. The team’s alternate member is Ayan Jhagroe (17) who was part of the 2017 Robotics Team Suriname and supported this year’s team as Junior Technical Mentor. He is a musician and in his final year of middle school.

The team is mentored by Sr. Technical Mentor Daniel Lachman, Robot Programming Mentor Shayant Sital, and junior technical mentor Ivana Codrington. The latter two were part of the 2017 Robotics Team Suriname. Daniel Lachman is director of the Institute for Graduate Studies and Research in Suriname and is facilitating the training space for the team. He was also the team mentor in 2017. Shayant is a student in his final year at NATIN and was the 2017 Robotics Team leader and spokesperson. Ivana is in middle school, also in her final year. She has a passion for tech and girl’s empowerment activities. The teens as well as their senior and junior mentors are fans of action-adventure-science fiction movies and enjoy music playing in the background while they work on the Suriname robot. Four other students who were selected as trainees and who also worked on the robot in especially the design and initial (test) assembly phase are Eleanor Lokhai (15), Randir Dassasingh (18), Praveesh Ramroop (17) and Adil Bhojwani (14).

Suriname’s participation would however not have been possible without the support of the Inter-American Development Bank in Paramaribo-Suriname, the dedication of the junior project coordinator, Shivani Jhagroe (20) to help meet all deadlines, and a group of around 6 young and talented project support volunteers (located in Suriname, the Netherlands and USA).  The team has also been empowered by the support of individuals (of the Customs Department Suriname), the Government of Suriname, family and friends. 

Foundation Young Help Suriname (YHS), is the local counterpart of FIRST Global in Suriname and the facilitator of Team Suriname. The Founder and CEO, Ashna Mahepal, who is a firm believer in triggering (hidden) potential in young people through Inspirational Experiences and team success, believes that, also this year Team Suriname will proudly step unto the FGC platform and give it’s best. The FGC games are not only a competition, but also to empower and build collaboration and friendship among young STEM interested minds in more than 150 countries across the globe. Being part of this network and having access to this rich resource is important for Suriname, if we also want to contribute with the talent we have and enable our young people to make use of this global platform to emerge as STEM and Innovation future leaders. Last year’s team became this year’s supporting junior mentors and so the foundation looks forward to this year’s team also being inspired and motivated and taking it another step further. 

Team Suriname has shown dedication and motivation in their training phase to work together and honors their predecessors by naming their robot Zweef Teki 2.0. They gained valuable insights from last year’s robot, ‘Zweef Teki’s performance (who ended on spot 49 on the list of 163) and so they wanted to keep the name alive this year. Team 2018 is convinced that robotics will be very important for the future and are ready for a good challenge and effective collaboration with their team alliances in August 2018 in Mexico City.

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