Children bring robots to life during summer STEM program

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Frances Emma Asonye is part of the robotics teams at Sandia National Labs’ HMTech summer program, where patience and careful coding brought to life two robots.

“You need to have a lot of patience for it because it took some time, some things didn’t work,” said Emma Asonye. 

The program is sponsored by Sandia’s Black Leadership Committee and community involvement team, and it’s back after a two-year COVID break.

“This was an incredible opportunity for our team today, cause we’re looking for outreach opportunities to teach STEM but also get kids really excited about a STEM topic like robotics,” said John Linebargar, a Sandia computer scientist who volunteers with the program.

Science, technology, engineering and math are all at play when building robots, which they’ve done every Saturday this month, wrapping up this Saturday. 

“The kids have done great, they actually have functioning robots after two sessions which I would say would normally take us a month of work, so a lot to be proud of here,” said Bob Bellemare, HMTech instructor and Lego robotics coach. 

The class was also competing for bragging rights during a mini robotics challenge. They scored each robot on the manual controls and autonomous programming – gaining and losing points depending on how well they programmed them.

Frances said she loves STEM as a fun hobby, and being on the winning team, Team Flapjack, made this program even better.