Cheung ’19 Brings Visionary Leadership to Robotics, Theater Programs

by St. Andrew's Episcopal School
Ashley Cheung ‘19 is seemingly everywhere. On any given weeknight, she’s tinkering with a trophy-winning Textrix robot in the D! Lab, coordinating with light and sound crew members in the MacDonald Hall booth, or selling snacks from behind the counter of the Student Center café.
It’s no surprise that Ashley, who was named a National Merit Semifinalist last week, has been tapped to lead all these endeavors this year. Ashley has worked behind the scenes of the plays and musicals, most recently leading as the stage manager of “Sister Act.” She was one of the first staff members of the Student Center cafe, helping get a staple of student life off the ground. And, in January, she ensured the “Simba” robot was ready for competition and helped the Lion’s Den robotics team advance to the state competition.

In addition to her leadership roles, she also is a member of the Cum Laude Society and a D! Lab intern. This past summer she studied video game design at Carnegie Mellon University, where she and her team created a virtual reality game that simulated flying.

Ashley said she enjoys these activities because they bring people together.
 
“For [tech crew], it’s seeing the show come together and spending time with the actors and crew. The café is similar – it’s a good opportunity to get to know people and practice leadership,” she said. “For robotics, it’s just a really good opportunity to practice engineering. The robotics community is really close and supportive.”
 
Kim O’Shaughnessy, Science Department Chair and robotics team sponsor, said Ashley has exemplified visionary leadership on several occasions, most recently at the Upper School club fair, where she incentivized students to visit the robotics booth by offering a hands-on experience and treats.
 
“She bought cookies and designed a game so that if students drove the robot and stacked three blocks they could win a cookie,” O’Shaughnessy said. “It was a perfect way to find a new driver for this year's competition, and it engaged the students in not just looking at the robot but working with it. She really thought through creating an open environment that would encourage new students to join.”
 
Ashley’s goals for this year include promoting collaboration among members of the robotics team and mentoring future stage managers. She is interested in majoring in engineering or computer science next year when she heads to college.
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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.