Young innovators hard at work at NSU Robotics Camp

NATCHITOCHES, La. (KALB) - If eight-year-old Griffin Vansickle had a robot, it would deliver...

"Cheeseburgers," said Vansickle.

Griffin is just one of many students trying to make their dreams a reality at Northwestern State University's Robotics Camp.

"I wanted to work at NASA," said camper Daniel Watts.

It's a free program that gets kids thinking about science, technology, engineering, and math early on.

Students will learn how to program, build and assemble their own robot.

"They are very smart, I mean they have the grasp of what is their future," said NSU Engineering and Technology Department Head Dr. Jafar F. Al-Sharab. "I like their ideas about the design of these robots. Face recognition, speech recognition, it's amazing."

Dr. Al-Sharab said there are many openings in the STEM career field.

"So, that is why we focus at an early age," said Dr. Al-Sharab. "There are at least 2,000 to 3,000 STEM careers required every year in the state of Louisiana."

Openings looking for women too.

"I wanted to be a doctor, but I don't really like blood," said camper Genevieve Stephens. "So, I wanted to be a robot because I can make robots that can help the doctors."

Stephens wants to help fill those positions.

"People say that the lord made boys for stronger, but it doesn't mean that girls can't be just as strong," Stephens said.

Her goal is one NSU IET major John Lindsey wants to see more of.

"I'm excited there are a lot of girls here too," Lindsey said. "There are usually not that many girls. And there are more girls coming into our department as well."

However, gender aside, Lindsey is overjoyed to have so many young minds hard at work over the summer.

"If you show them what they are capable of it is a really, really rewarding experience," Lindsey said. "Oh I can do this, I can create something, I cant make an impact in the world, and that is what it is all about."

It's summer work Vansickle doesn't mind one bit.

"If it is a normal type of school, no I am not OK with it," Vansickle said. "But, if it is this type of place, I'm OK with it."

All three sessions filled up fast this summer, but keep the attached link in mind for sign-ups next year.

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