NORFOLK, Neb. -- Ghana Harshitha Vallabhaneli is a student at Marion High School in Omaha and was competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics meet at Northeast Community College on Saturday.

Harshitha Vallabhaneli said her passion for coding and robotics goes back to when she was only seven years old.

“I’ve always been interested in coding from when I was a kid,” Harshitha Vallabhaneli said. “I’ve been very much a visual person and through that I’ve noticed that I really enjoy robotics.”

She started working with robotics in fifth grade and continued with it throughout much of middle school and when Harshitha Vallabhaneli arrived at Marion High School, that’s when she really hit her stride in the field.

Her father also works with coding and she said he’s become a big inspiration to what her future could look like.

“He’s helped me a lot but he’s pretty busy” Harshitha Vallabhaneli said. “I feel like a lot of the stuff that I did was self learn. However, whenever I did need help, he was always willing to step in.”

In these types of competitions, each team builds their robot from scratch. To an average person that doesn’t have experience with robots, building one from the ground up might seems daunting. Harshitha Vallabhaneli however said the hardest part of the process isn’t constructing the machine, its knowing what to do with it.

“I feel like it’s not hard at all to build the robot but making it better and getting everything together is the hardest part,” Harshitha Vallabhaneli said. “Building it didn’t take as long as coming up with the ideas and brainstorming and drawing it all out in an engineering notebook.”

Harshitha Vallabhaneli added even during an early age, she was never process oriented. She said she’s more focused on the fine details.

“Every single thing we do needs to be documented down,” Harshitha Vallabhaneli said. “For our practice, we’ll write down who's there, what each person did, what we did as a team, what we achieved, what we plan to achieve.”

In the future, Harshitha Vallabhaneli said she’s leaning toward continuing her education with engineering and possibly moving back to her home state.

“I’m probably going to do something with engineering and psychics,” Harshitha Vallabhaneli said. “I want to go somewhere in California because it’s warm and also they have really good public colleges.”