Two Computer Science majors are working with students from Lukancic Middle School in Romeoville to teach them robotics using Lego MIndstorms. Jose Marquez, a junior from Elwood, and Andrew Camphouse, a freshman from Mokena, have been visiting Lukancic to work with the students on building and programming robots. The middle-school students are part of an after- school technology club led by Mr. Merle Green. Jose and Andrew are holding six sessions with the students this semester and will help them develop their skills from beginning robot design and basic programming to an advanced level where they can build sumo-style robots that try to push each other out of a combat ring.
Our work with Lukancic has been made possible by a program sponsored by Three Rivers Education Partnership (TREP). TREP, which is supported by manufacturing interests in Will and Grundy counties, aims to improve the preparedness of area students in mathematics, science, and engineering so that they can support the current and future work of local industries. It is an innovative partnership that provides a vital service to area schools and their students, and it likely will benefit the local economy going forward.
Jose and Andrew have done an outstanding job leading this effort. When TREP approached me in the Fall to lead this outreach to Lukancic, I had no idea how I was going to manage to set aside sufficient time in my schedule. Jose and Andrew graciously stepped up to take on this challenge. They have worked on their own to design and deliver a high-quality robotics course to the students. Jose has led the overall design of the course, plotting out a path for elevating the student’s skills from the basics of robotics and programming to more advanced and impressive construction and programming techniques. Andrew has done an outstanding job lending his own programming insights and prior experience building Mindstorms robots to the experience. Thanks to Jose and Andrew’s great work, Lukancic students are getting an awesome opportunity to enter the field of Computer Science in a compelling and empowering way.
The Mission of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is “to prepare innovators of integrity dedicated to service.” Jose and Andrew’s work with Lukancic Middle School perfectly demonstrates how we keep that mission real.