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Campers spend week at Mat-Su College building customized fighting robots

The battle has been ongoing inside the Mat-Su College theater as 8th-12th grade campers spent the week constructing customized robots.
Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:30 AM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - The battle has been ongoing inside the Mat-Su College theater as 8th-12th grade campers spent the week constructing customized robots. The University of Alaska Anchorage Summer Engineering Camp was being hosted at the Mat-Su College campus, during which students were taught the basic outlines of building a functioning robot and coding.

“After a week long of trial and error and improvement, they’ve got bots that can lift and navigate lines and sense their environment on their own and also be controlled through operators,” said Mat-Su College Associate Physics professor Dan Nichols.

During the camp, students were given a box of parts and guidance so they could build a one-of-a-kind robot.

“We decided to put our weapon — which is a spinning prop — on the very last day and it actually worked out really well,” said 14-year-old camper Jacob Gordon.

The camp consisted of 14 campers who were all broken into smaller groups. Together, they worked to build and code their own bots. Throughout the week, campers were able to put their bots to the test and try them out in different scenarios.

“There’s not only just coding and building, we do all sorts of stuff. We do fashion walks, we played soccer,” Gordon said.

The camp program is centered around introducing STEM concepts to youth at a young age.

“The preparation to become an engineer or scientist is a long road, and the earlier you start, the greater chance you’ll have of success,” Nichols said.

The event gives participants the tools to help get ready for a potential career in a STEM-related field — allowing campers like Gordon to get one step closer to his dream career.

“I want to work at SpaceX. I want to go get my astronautics engineering degree and work at SpaceX,” Gordon said.

The UAA Engineering Academics is hosting other camp sessions through the end of June and into July. Those programs will be catered towards elementary and middle school age groups. Those interested can find additional information on the UAA website.

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