CLEARFIELD — The young robotics club at Clearfield High School is one step closer to building robots that will be able to hold their own in robotics competitions.
Less than 2 years old, the club received about $1,300 from Chevron’s Fuel Your School program in late October to buy equipment that will allow them to step up their robot game, said Jodi Lunt, executive director of the Davis Education Foundation.
The club will also receive matching funds from the foundation and other district funds, Lunt said.
With these donated funds, the club was able to buy new parts and equipment like special batteries and motor controllers.
“Those were parts go directly go onto the robot itself, such as motors, controllers to control the motors, gears and different parts,” said Jill Kennedy, who advises the club and teaches engineering and computer science at Clearfield High School.
“I was just as excited as the kids because a lot of their motor controllers had been used so much between different motors,” Kennedy continued, “but (because) they have more, they’re able to share that power better and not go through them as fast, which means the robot can go faster and have more endurance within the racing period.”
While robotics club can be fun, it can also be a leg up in the job market, Kennedy said.
Several employers at Northern Utah’s recent STEM Expo event told Kennedy that if students have robotics club on their resumes, they’ll be more likely to be hired for internships, which can lead to other jobs with the same companies. Many companies will also pay for college expenses.
“Students that are involved in robotics have a lot more hands-on experience with a lot of skills that these engineering companies need,” Kennedy said. “Because when engineers go to college, they never have to touch power tools, they never have to actually build anything by the time they get out.”
The robotics club and new tools are part of a larger push at Clearfield High School to increase STEM courses and equipment, said Brett Matsumura, career and technical education coordinator at Clearfield High School.
“We have a couple irons in the fire,” Matsumura said.
They’re working with Davis Technical College to create a composites program, part of the Utah Aerospace Pathways Program, a joint effort between education, industry and the Governor’s Office.
The school is slowly but surely building a “Makers Lab,” which was launched last school year. It currently has a 3D printer and laser engraver, which were both added in the spring, Matsumura said.
The lab is currently focused on engineering, but the school would like to grow the lab over time to include tools for digital media, marketing, business, welding and woods classes — “where they can work together collaboratively and use their talents in an effort greater than individual parts and pieces,” Matsumura said.