One STEM at a time

The RoboSpartans’ STEMspiration workshop guides the future

Story By: Jessica Tolentino, Online Editor

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Behind the scenes of the never-ending building season for competition, the RoboSpartans’ Outreach organization works to create fundraisers, host volunteer events, and contact sponsors. Most importantly, however, the RoboSpartans’ Outreach focuses on giving back to the community every year.

“Attending Katy ISD, most of the students on Robotics are introduced to STEM through various programs offered through elementary and middle schools in the district,” Awards director and treasurer Anika Ahsan said. “We want to return this favor by continuing the trend in the form of charity events that will help underprivileged students get the education we were given.”  

Now extended to four weeks, the workshop teaches students about engineering principles. STEMspiration targets children in the third and fifth wards of Houston who do not receive as much resources.

“It benefits the community by breaking a cycle of poverty and allowing children to have new opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them,” said Ahsan. “It fosters a love of STEM and Robotics within these children, giving them new hopes for the future and letting them aspire to be something more.”

For the previous year, the Robotics team focused on multiple different projects over the course of three weeks. One project taught the third through fifth grade students how to make a motor with a copper coil which took a week for the students to accomplish. However, their second project was easily the students’ favorite in which they created a motor car out of an electrical series circuit.  

“Some of them were so excited and some of them were crying because they couldn’t get it to work,” said Quist. “Eventually, when they saw others’ working, they huddled over to their friends.”

This year, the RoboSpartans are dividing up and tackling the same schools and some new ones: these schools are either currently underfunded or below the requirements for standardized testing. STEMspiration starts June 4th with children from over 20 schools attending.

“This year’s plan is to separate projects day by day, leading up to the last week which is a big a project,” said Outreach Director junior Erica Quist.

The program is funded by the RoboSpartans’ Outreach branch, as they find and prove themselves to corporations, such as the Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft, that they are indeed on a path to better the community.

“It is honestly really difficult,” said Ahsan. “We get our funds by applying for grants with large corporations, by hosting car washes and spirit nights at local businesses. It is a long process but it pays off by helping us form relationships with our community.”

The RoboSpartans have been planning the workshop since the end of first semester through monthly meetings and now weekly meetings.

“This experience makes me feel grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given and how privileged I am,” Ahsan said. “It makes me feel proud of myself for being just a high school student impacting hundreds of little kids.”  

 

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