STEM Expo 2015 inspires the next generation of innovators

by MIYA TREADWELL

As science and technology continue to evolve, the need for invested young students is higher than ever, but the need for young minority students is even higher. The 2015 Maryland STEM Expo exposed the possibilities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to students by exploring robotics.

According to the executive director of STEMaction and co-sponsor of First Robotics, Bill Duncan, a big part of getting kids interested is including a competitive component.

“With First it’s a hands-on competition, it’s a sport…give them a chance to build robots and take them out into a sporting environment where they are building robots and competing in a game” Duncan said.

In addition to STEMaction, various other STEM organizations were present at the expo. The event was set up similar to a science fair, with multiple stations where students, ranging from third to twelfth grade, were introduced to an aspect of STEM by teachers, volunteers and other students.

Among the organizations was the Richard Montgomery High School robotics team. The team brought their robot that was used to participate in statewide competitions this past season.

“We’re here today to show the kids how they can get involved with STEM even at their age” Daniel Feshbach, RM’d Robotics Team, said.

RMHS student Daniel Feshbach, with teammates Ryan Cho and Milka Piszczek demonstrated the robots’ capabilities while explaining to the students the mechanical process. Cho and Piszczek used video game controllers to navigate the robot with the goal of gathering balls scattered around the floor and placing them in a cylinder.

The robot itself was a labor of love and took several redesigns throughout the competition process.

“In our first qualifier we suffered some difficulties with our robot so that after that we started redesigning our robot and learning how to cooperate as a team” Ryan Cho, RM’d Robotics Team, said.

Through their experiences the RM’d team and other STEM organizations were able to provide proof and inspiration to young students that science and technology can open an entire world of opportunities.