Jun 07, 2017

High school robotics students are engineering the future

Star Wars has R2-D2.

The Jetsons have Rosie.

The Easton Area High School has Bella.

Students in Easton High School’s (EHS) Technology Student Association (TSA) built Bella, a fully functioning robot that picks up rings, balls and other items at the beck and call of a student programmer. The students competed with Bella at the 2017 Pennsylvania state TSA competition in April and earned a top-10 finish in the robotics division.

Justin Kast, EHS technology and engineering teacher, is the academic advisor for the TSA’s robotics club. He worked with the student-led team on designing, building and programming the robot.

“I’m so impressed how these students can take an idea and then make it come to life,” said Kast. “The skills they are learning go beyond engineering principles. They are learning how to be good communicators and work in teams, qualities necessary for modern engineers.”

The kids in the club definitely want to win but their passion for STEM is the real driving force. Daniel Ramut, the TSA’s president for the past two years said he fell in love with the idea of building the world around him through engineering.

“I can use these principles to make a difference and a better tomorrow,” said Ramut, who will continue his engineering studies at a top university this fall.

An Empowering Educators grant from the PPL Foundation helped transform Bella. “The grant money goes a long way,” said Kast. “Small things like wheels make all the difference in form, function and maneuverability during the timed competitions.”

While the rest of us wait for flying cars, this group of students is engineering the future.