A group photo in the ASU STAM Center.

The Secure, Trusted and Assured Microelectronics Center in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence was thrilled to welcome its first summer outreach program high school students in a one-week course this July, introducing students to programming and basic robotics.

In their work, the students programmed an Arduino microcontroller to interact with the physical world through sensor reading and motor control, building a simple robot car that drives forward when it detects light. To conclude the program, the students competed in a series of car races to test their skills against their peers.

According to Alan Ehret, Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems Laboratory research lead and the program facilitator, the goal of this program is to reach high school students with little to no robotics experience and foster an early interest in engineering. By developing a basic understanding of computer programming early on, these students will enter college with the ability to build on their prior knowledge.

For participant Oli Elthon, a high school junior, this program encouraged him to explore engineering, and he hopes to continue his learning by pursuing the field in college — potentially at ASU with the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

After this experience, he’s leaning toward robotics engineering.

Learn more about the STAM Center and outreach opportunities.