Campus-based, Tesla-supported academy helps teachers advance STEM interest and education

Engineering faculty at Nevada’s research universities join with DRI to develop and host Robotics Academy of Nevada

Teachers learn about robotics and get hands on experience with building and programming robots geared to student competitions.

teachers learn robotics

The Robotics Academy of Nevada is helping 60 Northern Nevada middle and high-school teachers sharpen their teaching skills, introduce engineering and robotics into their classrooms, and be better prepared to coach robotics competition teams in their schools. Taking place in Edmund J. Cain Hall on the University of Nevada, Reno campus June 17-21, the Robotics Academy of Nevada is fully funded by Tesla's K-12 Education Investment Fund. It is part of a statewide professional development program working toward the larger, Tesla-supported goal to strengthen pathways from pre-K-12 to college degrees and high-tech careers.

"The most widely-utilized system for encouraging students to participate in robotics-related activities are competition leagues, FIRST Robotics leagues for example," David Feil-Seifer, assistant professor in computer science and engineering and project lead for the Robotics Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno, said.

Coordinated by the Desert Research Institute's Pre-K-12 STEM education and outreach program, Science Alive, the Robotics Academy of Nevada was developed through a partnership with the Colleges of Engineering at Nevada's research universities in Reno and Las Vegas. The initial Robotics Academy of Nevada workshop was May 28-June 1 at UNLV. The workshops include an introduction to engineering processes, careers and methodologies, and also explore the implementation of competitive robotics, competitive computer programming and cyber-literacy. The Robotics Academy is free for participating teachers and they also receive a stipend and continuing education credits.

Further demonstrating the larger career-education pipeline commitment and progress in Nevada, Day One of the Robotics Academy closed with a special "signing day" celebration of the recent high-school graduates selected for the Tesla-supported Manufacturing Development Program. Teachers participating in the Robotics Academy of Nevada were part of the audience in the Cain Hall auditorium as six 2019 high-school graduates signed their letters-of-intent to launch careers with Tesla as they also develop skills and pursue degrees at Truckee Meadows Community College with scholarship support from Tesla.

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