They were wrapping their robot in protective plastic wrap, getting ready to head home, when they heard the news: Team 5057, the Robobusters, had just been selected to compete in the championship round, with a shot to go to the international competition. Emelia McLaughlin, current co-captain of the Robobusters, cheerfully recalls that moment. “As soon as we were called, we were united and it felt amazing,” said McLaughlin. With McLauglin’s leadership, this team of robotic engineers from Townview High School has gone on to compete at the international competition once again, testing their skills of engineering and teamwork against the best teams in the world.
But Emelia McLaughlin, junior in the School of Science and Engineering at Townview Magnet High School, does far more than just see her robotics team to victory year after year. On top of challenging AP courses, she also juggles being on the varsity softball team and serving in leadership in the Civil Air Patrol, a training program for young people interested in serving their country. McLaughlin credits parents and teachers for giving her the impetus to move forwards. When she was ready to walk away from robotics during freshman year of high school, she recalled a middle school teacher who first sparked her interest in robotics. “She wouldn’t have wanted me to quit,” said McLaughlin. Since then, she has gone on to program and drive the robot while leading the entire club through the competition.
Beyond the engineering labs and school walls, McLaughlin is also the executive officer of a squadron with the Civil Air Patrol, a program designed to develop leadership skills for youth. Since joining in freshman year, McLaughlin has gone from being mentored to overseeing the entire direction of her squadron. Still, she takes pride in helping younger students through one-on-one interactions. “When they tell me why they joined the Civil Air Patrol, it makes me so happy to see so much potential in the community,” said McLaughlin.
McLaughlin currently plans on either majoring in chemical or nuclear engineering in college, in part due to her fascination about how the United States is powered. However, she hasn’t ruled out other options, such as being a high school teacher. She hopes to inspire students and teach them to be future leaders, helping them discover their own motivation. As a young leader in STEM herself, McLaughlin is looking towards a bright future, one that combines strong leadership with her passion for engineering.