STEM competition takes kids' passions to future careers

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University (ETSU) hosted a robotics competition for kids ages kindergarten to 12th grade.

The Robot Drone League is presented by Streamworks, a Kingsport educational non-profit focused in promoting STEM to children and getting them interested in potential future careers.

“I think that Robot Drone League is pretty unique in the way that it is both robotics, terrestrial robots, and it gives them the experience of aerial systems,” said Streamworks Program Coordinator, Gavin Bentley. “They get to fly drones too, so I think that’s super important that they get both those aspects of where the future’s going to go,” he said.

Steamworks’ challenge for this year’s championship is for students to program with drone technology.

With competitions like Robot Drone League, students from several different states including Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee are able to put their interests to the test.

This is Volunteer Robotics from Volunteer High School’s second year at the competition, and students like junior Noah Harrell are using these experiences to prepare for careers.

“I plan to go into engineering,” said Harrell. “Mainly mechanical, but if I get lucky enough maybe aerospace engineering.”

For others like Lee Cyber General Robotics member Huxley Aldridge of Lee County, Virginia, they’re just starting to get involved.

“Growing up, I’ve just always wanted to code and then when I found out about robotics and they told me I was going to be able to, I was just so excited,” said Aldridge.

Streamworks plans to hold another event at ETSU next year with regional events in the fall.

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