Final Competition — Pioneers in Engineering

Berkeley News Group interviewed me and Hayward for their feature on Pioneers in Engineering’s Robotics Competition.

Final Competition Coordinator

Final Competition itself was a two-event hosting 300 students from 25 schools. Each team brought their own robot, developed from the Pioneers in Engineering robotics kit.

Mentoring

The Hayward robotics team, their teacher, and my partner, Jacob Tran. Photo by Matt Chang.

My focus with Hayward was teaching them to program through Python. I developed materials for them to practice their skills on. Ultimately, some of these tools proved to be too ambitious. The barriers to starting — with the installation, setup, and learning how to work the interpreter — proved difficult to the students who often lacked consistent access to a computer. I’d like to develop better tools for the students to learn CS that reduce these barriers.

My ultimate goal throughout mentoring with Hayward was not to have them win the competition. Rather, I wanted to each of the team members to enjoy him or herself and become more interested in engineering. It’s exciting to see the moment of breakthrough — when they discover the solution to the problem they’ve been struggling with. Hayward learned a lot in their first season, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring next year.