STEM Students Use Robots to Develop Engineering Skills

APRIL 10, 2019 — Robots are powerful tools: They teach children the capabilities of science, technology, engineering and math-related learning.

To promote STEM-related careers for the Valley’s youth, TVA Generation Construction, Projects & Services and Facilities Management hosted their third-annual Robotics Showcase for kids from Hamilton County to hype their school’s robots, promoting a pathway to the STEM-related careers of the future. In total, K-12 students from 16 schools participated, demonstrating the functionality of seven different kinds of robots.

Robotics programs thrive on promoting STEM qualities in their youth, fostering communication skills and the validation that comes from being part of a team. Participating in robotics at an early age plants a seed for children to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.

“Math and science are my two favorite subjects,” said 11-year-old student Adie Hines from Lookout Valley Elementary. “One day I want to be a robotics teacher.”

Letajah Jennings, a junior at Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy has participated in robotics events for several years.

“I think this event is a great opportunity for the groups in attendance to see all levels of robotics,” she said. “As students, we’re able to see where we started in elementary school, and how far we’ve come.”

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For Tracy Hightower, senior program manager, GCPS&FM Support, the Robotics Showcase is a pathway that could open the doors for the next generation of TVA employees. She believes robotics events are opportunities for STEM kids to learn specialized skills that can easily be adapted in technology and engineering jobs of the future.

“I continue to be amazed by the students’ skills each time I’m able to see them in action with their robots. Robotics is a great way for TVA to partner with our area schools and provide an outreach for kids interested in STEM. It’s a win-win and shows how much TVA cares about STEM and the children of the Valley,” Hightower explained.

The Tennessee Aquarium was also on hand with their underwater robotics program, as well as the robotics team from Oak Ridge High School, which won the Tennessee State Robotics Competition.

TVA will host its next Robotics Showcase in Knoxville for students in East Tennessee on May 7. The event will be held in the Knoxville Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and is expected to showcase robots from 14 schools in the area.