Stony Brook Presents Summer Robotics Syllabus for Urban League Youth Program |

Leave Young Robots
Christopher Verasteghi of Brentwood was one of the high school students who participated in the Design, Innovation and Robotics Summer Program at CEWIT. Photograph by John Griffin.

To encourage the exploration of STEM-based careers, the Manufacturing and Technology Research Consortium (MTRC) Stony Brook University has a partnership with technology company Mechanismic Inc. To bring the Design, Innovation, and Robotics Summer Program into the Urban League’s Long Island Youth Summer Program. Thirteen students participated in the camp from August 8 to 19 at the Stony Brook Center of Excellence in Wireless Communications and Information Technology (sweet).

The Urban League of Long Island is a non-profit organization affiliated with the National Urban League, the largest civil and urban rights advocacy group in the country. Funding for the program was provided by an America Works Workforce Initiative grant, a national effort to coordinate training efforts in the American manufacturing industry, and to generate a more capable, skilled, and diverse workforce.

Mechanismic, a technology start-up company developed at Stony Brook University SnappyXOa robotics learning platform that pushes students to think outside the box while simultaneously teaching them many of the engineering principles they will need to succeed in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce.

Anurag Purwar, CEO of Mechanismic and Assistant Professor at mechanical engineering In the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook.

Purwar develops a design-driven educational robotics framework, a unified and comprehensive platform for teaching students engineering design, practical electronics and computer programming under one umbrella.

Building Mtrc . bots
One of the completed robotics projects from the summer program. Photograph by John Griffin.

“This program allows us to bring in children from low-income families and put them through a workforce training program,” said Cynthia Colon, program director at MTRC. “There are tech companies that are looking for exactly these skills.”

Colon said the workshop started in 2018 and was hypothetical in 2020-2021. This year she’s back in the classroom.

“It was great to bring the students back in person,” she said. “They’ve met kids from all over Long Island and actually built robots with each other.”

“We use the university’s economic development programs to reach out to the community and get students and youth excited about STEM,” said Rong Zhao, director of CEWIT.

Zhao said the robots using the technology covered in the workshop are being used to make high-risk inspection and maintenance jobs safer and more accessible.

“Facilities are using robots, drones and other technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, more and more for high-risk or remote missions,” Zhao said. “For example, with power grids and gas pipelines, a worker on site may not know how to make important repairs that might be needed. Technologies can allow off-site experts to assist in real time. Paramedics and disaster response professionals can take advantage of these Same capabilities in emergencies.Besides, a lot of businesses will be transformed by gamification, which is similar to putting real-world activities into a game environment.Future STEM jobs won’t have to sit around writing code every day to build apps or websites; you’ll By building real and functional things in a granular virtual space, so the user experience can be more fun and interactive, these simplified applications will help us work more productively and innovate faster.”

“The aim of the summer camp was to introduce attendees to robotics, programming and mechanical design, all of which will be essential components of the future workforce that will enhance robotics and related STEM systems. I hope this experience inspires them to be the technology leaders of tomorrow,” said Borwar.

Rohan Manraj, a high school student from Bayshore, New York, found the camp interesting.

“I’m a member of the robotics team in high school and it really sparked my interest,” he said. “The future is technology. After I tried it, I knew I wanted to do something in architecture or technical engineering.”

However, not all students who attended camp want to pursue careers in technology.

“I’m planning to go to nursing school,” said Laurie Cassos, a senior in Whitley Heights, New York, with an interest in video games and games. “It’s a hobby now, but you never know.”

“One of the things I’ve seen with kids from low-income communities is that they don’t think they can do that,” said Borwar. “Through workshops like these, one of the goals is to make these students believe that they can do it. We want to give them a taste of the specialties and a glimpse into the future while showing them the diversity of the field. If we can change a little bit of their self-identity and give them the confidence and motivation to pursue their dreams, it could be a life-changing experience.”

Robert Impruto

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