As a growing technology hub, the Reno-Tahoe area is seeing many new job opportunities in Robotics and STEM-related careers. EDAWN is proud to be joining forces with the partners behind Nevada Robotics, including the Desert Research Institute, Tesla, and Nevada Gold Mines, to support engaging robotics education to Nevada’s K-12 students. This collective state-wide effort is designed to inspire K-12 students to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Caroline Hanson is EDAWN’s Robotics Development Coordinator and acts as a liaison between EDAWN and Nevada Robotics to help businesses engage with students and develop a skilled local workforce.
Caroline said, “Students in 4th and 5th grade start to shut down potential career paths. In their minds, they decide ‘I don’t do math’ because they got a bad score on one quiz. They don’t realize the other skills that feed into STEM careers. Unless we are teaching them about possibilities, they aren’t exposed to STEM opportunities. More than likely, they’re not going to say, ‘I want to be an automation engineer.’”
Nevada Robotics supports FIRST and VEX, two international robotics competitions and education partners. In this unique partnership, Tesla offers funds so that every public middle and high school can field a robotics team.
Caroline shared that while some companies have provided robotics educational support to middle and high schools, Nevada Robotics is also working to move the robotics exposure deeper into elementary schools. “Students will start making their class selections in high school based on their earlier assumptions,” Caroline said. “The more we can get elementary school teachers to engage, the more students will choose this career path.”
Companies have also reached out to EDAWN looking for ways to engage in ways that will have an impact on local K-12 education. Nevada Robotics provides a way to do that. For example, Tesla currently matches donations for secondary robotics programs while Nevada Gold Mines supports professional development initiatives.
EDAWN is supporting Nevada Robotics in seeking partners within our community to serve as mentors, volunteers, career advocates, and STEM connections between schools and our employers.
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