Building Inspiration for the Future

“It all began from motivation from my seventh-grade science teacher to get involved with the program. Since then, robotics has helped me build my future.”

Madeline Ortiz, currently a senior at Corning-Painted Post High School, has committed to Cornell University School of Engineering to major in chemical engineering and minor in computer science. Part of the passion she acquired for her future stems from the robotics program, where she not only helped create championship winning projects, but learned various soft skills needed in her future.

“From creativity to networking, you get a valuable return each time you invest yourself in a project,” Madeline said. “You get to work with a lot of people, doing different things. It’s a team effort in an overall experience of real-world problem solving that leverages the expertise, creativity, and passion of everybody around you. When you’re in an environment that encourages you to be your best, you want to give it your all.”

Madeline thrives during process; slowly unfolding all the moving parts of a project to curate the final product. “And the beauty in that is that everybody contributes a large piece of the puzzle,” she said. “My teammates, the coaches, and the overall atmosphere of each tournament and working sessions. All of this meshes into something unique and amazing. This program builds bridges between people, and that team dynamic contributes to our success.”

Madeline will be a part of the Enderbots team being sent to Houston in April to try and win a third-consecutive championship for Team 5484.

Her passion beyond process involves outreach – a key part of the robotics program to leverage the greater community and develop an early interest in technology. Some of Madeline’s most fond memories come from her work with children at the Salvation Army. “I’ll never forget spending time there and seeing the kids’ faces light up when they were creating their projects, or when I showed them something new,” she said.

She also took part in Corning’s internship program during the summer of 2021, working directly with Corning’s world class engineers. “I found out what I wanted to do with my future during this internship,” she said. “I didn’t just do busy work during each session. I had the opportunity to work on real issues and projects that matter to the world. I got to work on all the moving parts to larger projects and see how processes unfold into something innovative.”

“I remember during introductions the opportunity was presented for questions,” she said. “I asked about the team’s day-to-day routine – what was different or similar. I think they were shocked, but they showed me this giant list of projects on an Excel sheet that covered some of the finer details within each effort that would need to be completed. But I remember not looking at it like busy work, especially since they cared about their work, too. It made me feel like my work mattered, and that’s something I strive to carry with me into my future.”

Madeline intends to return to Sullivan Park this summer for the internship program.