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Students Learn How Robotics Can Translate into Careers

Hundreds of middle- and high-school students who traveled to compete in the Texas BEST Regional Robotics Championship got a glimpse of their possible future careers as they learned about different types of robots from Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science faculty members.

Dr. Nicholas Gans, assistant professor of electrical engineering and Drs. Yonas Tadesse and Wooram Park, both assistant professors of mechanical engineering, gave presentations.

Dr. Wooram Park, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

“It’s important to connect what these bright students are doing with their robots to how they can apply their interests to potential careers,” said Rod Wetterskog, assistant dean of corporate relations for the Jonsson School. “After hearing from the professors, Jonsson School ambassadors, admissions representatives and robot chess team members, these students now know their interests can be transformed into a great future.”

Park said the use of robots is expanding into all aspects of society, particularly medicine. For example, robots are used to carry hospital patients and perform surgeries.

“Robot use is not limited to engineering,” Park told students. “We will need experts who can contribute to the bigger picture about how robots can be used in modern society.”

A video of a robot repeatedly falling down stairs brought laughter and drove home the message that robots are only as smart as they are designed to be. Images of a robot helping with spine surgery brought whispers of interest.

Jonathan Burmaster, 17, of The Woodlands, said he knew robots were used in medicine, but not to this extent.

Medical robots were new to Ben Rendon, 14, of Conroe. He seemed a bit more intrigued with a demonstration of robotic chess pieces built by Jonsson School students.

 “I’d love to make something like this,” he said.

Read more about this years BEST competition.