Area high school students learn robotics at UHV
As other students arrived at the University of Houston-Victoria for the after-school high school robotics class, Wyatt Davidson was already working on new additions to his robot.
“I used to watch Battle Bots when I was growing up, and the robots always were so interesting to me,” the 18-year-old Victoria East High School senior said. “Now I’m getting the chance to build my own robot and learn more about what goes into making them work. It’s been a great experience.”
Wyatt is one of 12 students who are taking part in the UHV College of Natural & Applied Science’s high school robotics after-school class. The class is a free opportunity for students to learn more about robotics and computer science, including the programming that goes into running and controlling a robot. The students are from various high schools including Victoria East High School, Victoria West High School, St. Joseph High School, Cuero High School, Goliad High School and Yorktown High School. The camp is funded by a grant from Alcoa Foundation.
“UHV’s computer science program is excited to welcome high school students from across the area to participate in our after-school robotics class,” said Amjad Nusayr, UHV associate professor of computer science and director of the undergraduate computer science and computer information systems programs. “We’re excited to offer a new program this year that features a new, more advanced set of robots as well as a 3D printer to allow us to design and create custom parts for the projects. I’m looking forward to seeing how much the students learn and how their creativity will impact their robots’ designs.”
During the class, students have learned about building robots using different parts and structures to accomplish specific tasks, such as moving blocks around a course. As students learn more about building robots, they will be able to design their own robots as a final project. In April, some of the students will have the opportunity to showcase their robot designs during the annual UHV Mathematics & Robotics Awareness Day.
While previous camps and afterschool programs have focused on the programming side of building robots, this camp is more directed toward the engineering that goes into building robots to accomplish specific functions, said Kristian Pulido, a UHV junior computer information systems major from Katy who is working as a robotics instructor for the class.
That focus on engineering is especially interesting to Wyatt, who wants to go into computer engineering and eventually work with robots in his future career.
“Getting this hands-on experience has been great,” Wyatt said. “I’ve already learned so much about the mechanics of the robots and how the code can get them to function properly. I’m looking forward to being able to experiment with it and find different ways to accomplish different tasks.”
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 50 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.