Serena Sherwood’s Successes

Amelia Nored, Editorial Board Member

One of the best parts about competing in any form of competition is winning awards for it. Everyone can relate to that joyful feeling of hearing your name called for an award and getting to go up onto a stage to accept it. But for some, an award is not just a material object– it’s a representation of their hard work and true character.

This is what the global robotics Dean’s List award means to junior Serena Sherwood, who is the current vice president of the Liberty robotics club and only student in the Pacific Northwest who holds this award. 

Sherwood’s efforts in making her community a better place have made her one of ten global winners of the Dean’s List award. Each year, these global winners travel to Houston, Texas, to be recognized for this accomplishment and meet deans, professors, and mentors from different colleges, but this event has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19. But even without this opportunity, Sherwood feels proud of her achievements and grateful for her opportunity to be in the competition.

“It felt really cool to feel as if my accomplishments were being recognized beyond just myself because I held a lot of pride in what I did. I didn’t really need an award to make me feel good about what I did, but it still meant a lot to me,” Sherwood said. 

For the Dean’s List award, club advisors nominate exemplary students to be semi-finalists and write an essay about their accomplishments, which then goes to a panel of judges who evaluate it. The judges then interview all the nominees and narrow them down into the second round of semi-finalists of about 10-15 students. A second interview follows this where judges choose 4 people out of the entire Pacific Northwest to advance. In the next round, another set of judges review all the notes that other judges took on the nominees and select a global winner.

The nominees consist of students who have made the largest impact on their team and community, and the Liberty robotics team considered Sherwood as the perfect representation of that due to the number of responsibilities she has taken on to help improve the team. 

“As a leader of our media and administrative sub-teams, I do a lot of work around how our team gets viewed by other people. I also handle a lot of communication with the people we work with.” Sherwood said. “I also do video editing for the team and write essays about our program to qualify for awards.” 

While many view robotics as a program where students only code and create robots, it serves many other purposes besides that. Community service is an integral part of the club, giving students the opportunity to help their community by setting up local robotics competitions, showcasing their robots at retirement homes to spread joy, and working at the food bank–all of which Sherwood has been strongly dedicated to. 

“I have done a lot of work for my robotics team, especially during the last year. Over the summer, I ran a camp with my friend Pranuti where we designed lessons and reached out to local STEM professors to speak to students at our camp,” Sherwood said. “We also work with local elementary robotics teams to mentor them, but with COVID this year we had to change that, so I arranged a virtual version of that and ran the entire program.”

And as Sherwood has put passion into her club and her community, she has gotten a passion back from it. 

“I always say that my ability to learn new skills is what brought me to the team, but the ability to do community service and help others is what kept me there. Robotics has given me a passion for working with others, especially with kids. I am really interested in pursuing a career where I can help other people–maybe like being a teacher,” Sherwood said.