**85 students from underrepresented backgrounds learn career building skills in programming and robotics**
Through a collaboration with Reality Changers, which prepares youth to become first-generation college graduates, San Diego-based Robolink is teaching students in grades 2-12 – to discover skills in coding, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and more. The collaboration is funded in large part by San Diego Squared, a community organization focused on increasing diversity in STEM-driven companies.
“We believe that incredible talent lives in all communities,” said H. Puentes, Executive Director of San Diego Squared. “Investing in partnerships like this provides underrepresented students the fundamentals in coding they need today to lead the STEM talent pipeline tomorrow.”
Robolink, which creates fun and approachable robotics kits that teach coding and engineering to kids and teens, has designed the camps. The first camp took place from June 21-23, with a second camp currently running, Aug. 2-20. The students are in-person at Reality Changers, located at Wilson Middle School.
“From drones, to AI, to coding; learning STEM isn’t just a fun topic anymore, it’s a necessary 21st Century skill,” said Hansol Hong, owner/creator, Robolink. “This summer, we brought one of our Stanford-trained instructors to teach Reality Changers students coding and tech in a fun and exciting way. With Zumi, the self-driving robot, students explored real-world careers in AI technology. We really wanted to show students how much fun coding can be and give them opportunities they may not have initially been interested in. With organizations like SD2 to help fund programs like this, we can begin to level the playing field for first generation college-bound students.”
The camps are taught by Robolink certified instructors, who have successfully gone through an extensive training program. Trained to engage students with methods that aid children to retain long-term knowledge, instructors are placed with students where they are best suited to engage their skills and interests.
“Seeing students work with self-driving cars and automated drones is entertaining and rewarding,” said Nico Carballal, Robolink instructor. “Although there are certainly obstacles with learning to code, I enjoy seeing the students laugh as their CoDrone Mini runs zigzags around the room or when a student accidentally programs their Zumi, self-driving car, to drive off the desk and onto the floor. Even if the Reality Changers first-generation students ultimately decide programming and robotics is not their passion, I hope they see that they are more than capable of tackling subjects like these.”
Robolink’s camps are engaging for both students and parents, as they provide ways for parents to keep track of their child’s progress. The parent portal links educators to parents, providing class details and private information on student’s achievements. Feedback reports include the child’s progress during the camps and updates on their learning.
“At Reality Changers, we provide tutoring, college application assistance, and mentorship to students who will be the first in their families to graduate from college,” said Jordan Harrison, Vice President of Community Impact & Partnerships. “Opportunities like this not only help to expand their horizons and expose them to new potential career pathways, but also show them the strong community of partners, like Robolink and San Diego Squared (SD2), that stand behind them as they pursue their academic and professional goals.” For more information about Robolink and its camps, visit: https://shop.robolink.com.
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Robolink was established in 2012 in San Diego, California to encourage students to engage with STEM. We make fun and approachable robotics kits that teach coding and engineering in a way that’s exciting to children and teens.
The world is becoming more technology-driven, so it’s increasingly important that we cultivate the next generation of innovators and inventors and make technology accessible to all. With our learning centers in San Diego, and schools all over the country and internationally, we teach AI (artificial intelligence), coding, and engineering, while working with amazing teachers all over the world.
About Reality Changers:
At Reality Changers, we believe that college changes everything. We aim to transform lives by preparing youth to become first-generation college graduates and agents of change in their communities. Since our inception, program graduates have attended institutions such as UCSD, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UCLA (among other top-25 institutions). Reality Changers provides specific academic programming and activities to meet the unique social-emotional needs of students from underrepresented backgrounds, including tutoring, mentorship, college readiness skills, and professional development at no-cost to students and their families. Reality Changers is a donor and volunteer supported 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Learn more at RealityChangers.org.