Published: June 22, 2016
Students working on a lego robotic

Diego Fierro, 13, hopes to be a mechanical engineer someday. And thanks to a LEGO Robotics: Space Challenge camp at the University of Colorado Boulder, Diego took one step closer to that dream this week.

“I’ve never built anything with LEGO Mindstorms before,” Diego explained, as he programmed the robot’s next move. “It’s cool because it gives me an idea of how a machine works, how every piece is important and has a job.”

Diego was one of 30 middle school students from Skinner and Lake middle schools and Bryant Webster – an early childhood through eighth grade school – in Denver who built and programmed robots as part of CU-Boulder’s Science Discovery residential camp.

The summer camp is a partnership between CU Science DiscoveryCU-Boulder’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement and the Summer Academic Focused Education program, a nonprofit that provides hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to middle school students in northwest Denver. These week-long camps focus on architecture, business and engineering and are held at CU-Boulder, UC Denver and the Colorado School of Mines.

“Many low-income, first-generation students haven't had much exposure to STEM fields,” said Ron Gallegos, who coordinates the northwest Denver summer program. “Through hands-on projects like programming robots, STEM becomes something they understand and as a result they might choose as a potential career.”

To read the full story, visit the Office for Outreach & Engagement website.