Meeting with and educating K-12 students about STEM and career opportunities in STEM is an important component of RoboJackets Outreach. This mainly takes the form of giving talks and tabling at maker fairs and other events. Most recently, RoboJackets was invited to participate in a virtual career day for middle school students, held by the Atlanta chapter of the Jack and Jill organization. Jack and Jill of America is a national organization that “focuses on the personal, cultural, educational, and civic development of African-American children.” Presenting to students from underrepresented backgrounds is a great way to inform them of career opportunities in robotics that they might not know about, in the hopes that some might grow up to become roboticists themselves.
RoboJackets president Shishir Pandit-Rao represented RoboJackets at the event, where “established professionals from various fields, such as finance, medicine, entrepreneurship, and engineering … discussed their experiences in their relative fields”. Students also had the opportunity to ask questions regarding college and other aspects of career development. Said Shishir: “I had a wonderful time talking to the students about my experiences with robotics and engineering in grade school, as well as some of the extremely interesting and varied applications of this technology in the world as a whole!” The number of available opportunities for RoboJackets Outreach to interact with K-12 students and the general public have been very limited since the start of the pandemic. Remote events like these are a very welcome chance for us to continue promoting robotics outside of RoboJackets.