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Faces of Geneia

Faces of Geneia: Coaching student robotics team

August 9, 2018
Geneia engineer coaches his kids' FIRST® Lego® League robotics team.
Elysia Woody

Meet Anbalagan Mookkaiah, a full-stack software engineer at our Harrisburg location. When Anbalagan joined Geneia, he worked with the value-based care team to support changes to our Theon® platform. Currently, he is part of our ETL (extract, transform, load) team, writing scripts to extract and analyze data and constantly optimizing the code.

Anbalagan is appreciated for his hard work and dedication and we are happy to have him as part of our team. We recently learned that away from work he coaches his children’s robotics team.

Anbalagan has always been interested in engineering and received a degree in communication engineering in India from the University of Madras. He is a father of twins, a boy and a girl age 11, and thought that perhaps they too might enjoy the science, engineering, mathematics and technology (STEM) field as much as he does.

Finding FIRST® Robotics

Image of Anbalagan Mookkaiah Geneia Engineer

With this in mind, he started investigating programs and found FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international youth organization that operates the FIRST® Robotics Competition, FIRST® Lego® League, FIRST® Lego® League Jr., and FIRST® Tech Challenge competitions, all with an eye towards inspiring young people to become leaders and innovators in the STEM field. Anbalagan knew it would be a perfect and engaging activity for his kids, “My passion for engineering and the father in me naturally drove me to coach robotics for the kids.”

Anbalagan soon put together a robotics team named GearShift. There were 10 kids between the ages of 9 and 13 on the team, all of whom shared an interest in science.

The team later decided to participate in the FIRST® Lego® League (FLL), a competition where students from grades 4-8 research a real-world engineering challenge, develop a solution by applying math, science and engineering concepts and build and program a robot able to perform autonomous missions on a playing field. GearShift chose the challenge of water scarcity and created a solution to reuse grey water to conserve water for future generations.

GearShift’s success propels team to World Championships

GearShift team banner.

GearShift was successful, winning the overall championship award at the regional competition and traveling to Detroit, MI to compete in the world-level championships in April. Anbalagan said his group’s success came because they worked as a team, shared the experience with each other, learned together and had fun.

Geneia was proud to sponsor Anbalagan’s team. Sponsoring GearShift and encouraging the next generation of technologists, data scientists and engineers is an important part of the work we do. We are incredibly proud of Anbalagan and the GearShift team. They did a fantastic job!

The GearShift  Team.