What We Do
Our team, “One Degree North”, was the creation of Mr. Bart Millar and Ms. Meredith White, two teachers who felt that Singapore American School needed a robotics program. One Degree North started as an afterschool program operating out of a history classroom with a pair of screwdrivers. Since 2013, the team has expanded in know-how, membership, and mechanical assets, and nearing One Degree North’s 10th anniversary, the team has become an expanding part of each tier of community it participates in.
In spite of the recent hurdle of COVID-19, One Degree North has come out of the pandemic swinging; running on the enthusiasm of its over 100 members, we strive to cultivate know-how and passion towards all facets of STEM in both the American School and Singapore.
Under the auspices of the FIRST program, One Degree North has helped enable students, past and present, to utilize critical thinking and problem-solving skills—in a perennial quest for the best performance we can muster, students’ ideas are challenged, and if those ideas don’t work, they push themselves with the knowledge of their previous attempts, and a newfound resolve.
Creativity guided by garnered knowledge is our greatest tool, and through a cycle of learning that started some 9 years ago, the robots we produce have become more resilient and functional. This method has been driven by communication and collaboration between all echelons of the club—we have a pool of knowledge spanning from alumni to rising freshmen but utilizing it requires providing constructive criticism and receiving feedback effectively.
Our greatest success has been the inclusive and professional environment we have built. In the robotics lab, veterans and newcomers alike are not just welcomed, but greatly appreciated for the perspectives they bring. In order to actuate such perspectives, great effort goes into our training and knowledge retention—alumni of our team frequently visit and stay involved in team discussions. Emphasis is placed not just on building robots but building a thriving community. Our members don’t just interact in the lab, but through team dinners, gift exchanges, and various other get-togethers.
Previous compositions of One Degree North have left behind a legacy of grit, innovation, and ardor. We aim to do the same.
Our team, as well as providing an environment for robotics excellence, also strives to cultivate a passion for STEM in our community. One Degree North members have been perennial champions of STEM-promoting service work. Our team always strives to cultivate a passion for robotics in our community, so it often sponsors and collaborates with those very service initiatives. One such project is Geek Girls, a service club dedicated to supporting women in the STEM field by hosting activities for students of all ages and raising awareness for the issues facing and great achievements by women in STEM. Another hugely successful initiative is Digital Frontiers, which provides free technical assistance and services to not only school events and clubs, but also local, Singaporean community organizations.
Our team also supports the elementary and middle school programs, assisting in mentoring the FIRST Lego League and Vex IQ teams, not only ensuring a quality pool of talent for high school programs but also providing relatable role models for the students to more easily work with through their robotics endeavors. Moreover, our team periodically invites preschool and elementary school children to visit our workshop, giving them a realistic, interactive, hands-on robotics experience. For all of these service initiatives, our ultimate goal is to raise interest in our robotics team and the STEM field.