BY: KIRSTEN MICHALKE, DIRECTOR OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Northland Community & Technical College understands the importance of education for those of all ages. NCTC’s Center for Outreach and Innovation (COI) provides a wide range of educational solutions for the people of northwest Minnesota and beyond. When you think of college, you rarely think about the training that takes place for youth but Northland’s COI has created a vast array of summer options for area youth that give them a head start on STEM-related education. Starting this week, NCTC is proud to bring RoboStorm back to the communities of northwest Minnesota for the tenth consecutive year!
RoboStorm is a fun-filled two days of learning, building, programming, and problem solving with robots. Students, male and female, from grades six through eight will come to our Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks campuses to engage in an exciting, hands-on summer camp that provides a creative outlet for those interested in robotics. Robotics is one of the fastest growing competitive areas and two states have recognized it as an official high school sport, and that number is expected to grow rapidly. Working side-by-side NCTC faculty members, students will learn by doing with the help of these experts. Students also tour a local manufacturing facility (e.g., Arctic Cat, Philadelphia Macaroni, Cirrus Designs) to understand how robotics, engineering, and mechanical design are implemented in the workplace. Many more companies provide scholarships for youth to attend camp, donate goods, and contribute time to making camp a success in their local community and we want to thank them for their continued support!
Coming later in June is our newest camp, RoboTek, which takes robotics to the next level. This summer camp is designed for students in grades nine-12, and was collaboratively developed with Digi-Key Electronics and Central Boiler. Participants will work directly with Northland faculty and industry experts to create, program, and build a personalized robot! The camp is three days in length. Two days will be at our Northland Community & Technical College, Thief River Falls campus and one day will be at Central Boiler in Greenbush, MN. Many of these students have already been introduced to robotics and may participate in VEX Robotics competitions with the help of NCTC VEX Robotics team members and coaches.
Another great example of how NCTC is providing cutting-edge educational opportunities is at the North Valley Career and Technology Center in Grafton, ND with a summer camp, DroneTech, surrounding small-unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) this week. With morning sessions for fifth through eighth graders and afternoon sessions for ninth through twelfth graders in the afternoon, students will become familiarized with UAS and will build a quadcopter sUAS. They will learn programming, flight safety, and piloting to collect imagery and learn to analyze the imagery they each took. The camp runs Monday through Friday and is a great example of collaboration across MN and ND.
Providing these educational opportunities to area youth helps connect students’ interests to college programs and career choices. As Northland continues to evolve to fit the needs of the modern day STEM college student, NCTC’s COI will continue to bring that education to area youth through hands-on camps such as RoboStorm, RoboTek, and DroneTech.