SigmaCorns: A New Robot Generation

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a global robotics program for high school students that teaches skills that prepare them to be the tech leaders of the future. Over 2,500,000 students have participated in over 100 countries. Meet the SigmaCorns, from NC’s School of Science and Mathematics, a top ten ranked team in 2022.

There’s a lot of AI products out there now, but most of them are just thin UIs over ChatGPT. So how can we build AI tools that are truly revolutionary?

Jacob and Ayush share their experiences and thoughts on this problem as they describe their journey in the world of AI, from being students at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics to becoming researchers at a Venture backed AI startup.





The SigmaCorns are all students at the NC School of Science and Math, a public high school in Durham NC that aims to foster an intellectually stimulating, diverse, inclusive, and collaborative community of students.

Jacob Van Meter

Jacob is an AI Research Engineer and Entrepreneur who’s always been focused on building in the future. He’s the Co-Founder of LRNT, the startup building Athena, a revolutionary AI data science learning assistant currently undergoing pilot programs. They’re also an AI Research Engineer at Plastic Labs, a startup solving the principal agent problem and just happens to be a student studying CS at UNC Chapel Hill. 

Ayush Paul

Ayush is a developer, designer, budding entrepreneur, and a high school student at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. As a co-founder of LRNT, they utilize AI and Computer Science pedagogy to build Athena, an innovative AI Data Science learning assistant currently making waves in pilot programs. In addition, Ayush is an avid roboticist, currently the software captain of FTC #22377 the SigmaCorns. Furthermore, they’re the founder of Queen City Hacks, Charlotte’s largest high school hackathon, and an AI Research Engineer at Plastic Labs, a NYC startup solving the principal-agent problem. 

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