January 01, 2012

Mentoring a High School Robotics Team

Cynthia Hannah-White

As a mentor for the “Kauaibots,” Kauai’s All-Island High School Robotics Team, I get to help the youth of our community to learn, grow, and expand their future opportunities while honing my analytical skills and having fun. As soon as you know what competitive robotics is—kids building robots that play fast-paced, challenging games with other robots—you can see why it’s a growing and highly successful activity in many of our schools, from about third grade through college. Kids love robotics because it’s hands-on, full of solving real problems using real tools, surprisingly social, and intrinsically cool. Teachers love it because it appeals to a variety of kids and stimulates interest in science, math, and engineering like nothing else. There are many scholarships available (the FIRST program alone offers more than $15 million in college scholarships), and for many of these kids, this program is what gets them excited not only about engineering but about college in general. I first learned about robotics through my son and niece, who got involved with the activity in high school, but I soon found that there is even a niche on the team that is particularly suited to my professional skills as an attorney.

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