A student’s race, zip code, or socioeconomic status should not limit their STEM fluency. We expect our members to graduate from high school with a plan to thrive in a modern STEM economy. To increase exposure to STEM opportunities, the Fettig Youth Campus introduced RoboTech in partnership with Whirlpool Corporation’s WERLD Program engineers. The RoboTech program provides Club members a fun and educational introduction to the field of robotics and an understanding of electronics, mechanics and software are integrated into creating high-tech solutions. The WERLD (Whirlpool Engineering Rotational Leadership Development) Program gives recent college engineering graduates an extensive introduction to engineering and technology from a global product development perspective while allowing engineers to give back to the local community.
Club members have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the engineers to learn the fundamentals of robot design, building, programming and testing. They’re also building relationships with caring adults, learning about why they choose to become engineers, the importance of doing well in math and science, and collaborating to solve problems. The recent class was split into four teams who competed in a robotics competition held at Whirlpool Corporation’s St. Joseph Tech Center. During the competition, course learnings were put into action with each team cheering on its robot in an actual work environment.
In a letter to their team, Whirlpool Corporation engineers Annie, Sarah and Shannon said, “We had such a great time working with you all. Your focus and excitement throughout the project made it fun to work with you each week and allowed you to learn so many different things about physics, robotics, and teamwork.” They continued, “Keep stretching yourself to learn problem solving, as well as creative and analytical thinking. With these skills and your determination, you can tackle all different kinds of problems and issues you may face down the road!”
In closing the women said, “We hope you continue to learn more about STEM and robotics and someday become awesome engineers like us!” All of us at the Clubs hope that, too.