Students and faculty from Troy University’s Electronics Engineering Technology program recently hosted a robotics workshop for students at Pike County’s Center for Advanced Academics and Accelerated Learning.
As part of the workshop, TROY students worked with the seventh through ninth graders to program and then build a 3D-printed robot that can sense and avoid obstacles.
Kim Sellers, a teacher at the STEM academy, said she’s appreciative of the learning opportunities the partnership with TROY gives her students.
“I love that we can partner with TROY for programs like this because it gives our students the opportunity to see that what we’re doing in the classroom they can do in college and do as a career one day,” she said. “This gives them a taste of what a career in this field would look like so they can further develop that interest or decide it’s not what they want to do, but at least they’re exposed to it and can learn something new.”
Carson King, a ninth-grade student from Goshen High School who has been involved in the STEM classes for the last four years, said while he doesn’t see himself pursuing a career in STEM, he’s enjoyed the chance to learn something new and to work closely with TROY.
“I enjoy that it’s a hands-on experience and something different to do from just a regular high school class,” he said. “Everything we’ve done with the University has gone really well—the students that have worked with us and the professors have all been very helpful and fun to work with.”
Dr. Raj Vinnakota, assistant professor and EET Program Coordinator, said hosting workshops and other events, like the annual BEST Robotics competition, helps recruit local students to TROY.
“The biggest problem I’ve seen is the local community doesn’t know we have this program,” he said. “So we’re trying to go out and mentor the kids and show them a glimpse of what we have to offer while also giving them a fun project to work on. Our students have also enjoyed being able to share their knowledge and work one-on-one with these students.”
For this activity, also Vinnakota mentored and guided EET student Brady Barr to create 3D models and to print 3D parts for the robot. Barr was supported by the National Science Foundation ERI (Award No. ECCS-2138198).