HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Growing up, we were always told to ‘shoot for the stars’ when it came to our dreams and ambitions.
This week, in-person for the first time since the pandemic began, one program is teaching kids interesting and sought-after skills that may one day help them do just that.
At the Robert C. Byrd Institute in Huntington, a special kind of camp is getting the gears turning in kids’ heads.
“We’re here running a robotics camp for students aged six to 14,” says John Holbrook with NASA’s Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility Education Resource Center.
This camp, in partnership with the NASA Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility and the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, is focused on teaching kids some valuable skills.
“The goal is just to get students excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics through a fun hands-on robotics platform,” Holbrook says.
The kids are learning how to build and program robots, and even having competitions and challenges to test their new skills.
“What I really like about robotics is it’s kind of the intersection of a lot of different STEM fields; there’s mechanical engineering, there’s physics, there’s programming, and using these kits and building these robots and competing in these challenges really allows kids to get their hands in a lot of different STEM fields,” Holbrook says.
Kids attending the camp agree the skills they’re learning here could prove very valuable later on in life.
“I’m doing robotics camp to learn how to code so maybe one day I can make my own video game,” says Daniel Fields, who is 12 years old and attending robotics camp.
“I came to this class ’cause I just wanted to learn how to make a robot. Once I started realizing that I can actually make my own robot, I could program to do whatever I want, I started getting into it,” says Mollie Mertz, who is 10 years old and attending robotics camp.
“That these skills, we can use for the rest of our lives, I really believe that,” says Caleb Bryce, who is nine years old and attending robotics camp.
“This is why NASA is really interested in this sort of education outreach. They realize that there’s gonna be a need in the future for more high tech and STEM employees, not just at NASA but in the industry nationwide,” Holbrook says.
Perhaps there will even be a need for these STEM employees right in the Jewel City.
The robotics camp runs through the end of the week, however for more information on the Robert C. Byrd Institute, visit their website here.