Techno-Robots Teaches STEM

Middle school students attending robotics summer camp hosted at the Mountaineer Area Robotic(S) MARS facility came from Monongalia County’s Mountaineer Middle, South Middle, Suncrest Middle, Harrison County’s South Harrison Middle, and Jefferson County’s Wildwood Middle School. (Top left photo, left to right) Playing the sumo-bot challenge is Mikael Virji, Destiny Valaike, Craig Dombrowski, Colin Columbo, Alex Phares, and Coleman Hazen. (Top right photo, cheering for STEM is Amber Dombrowski with the group. (Bottom group photo, left to right) 1st row Craig Dombrowski, Alex Phares, Jacob Southern, Mikael Virji, Chase Atkinson, Amber Dombrowski, McKenna Cottrell, and Lucy Thompson; 2nd row Lynn Dombrowski (STEMPLOY Facilitator), Colin Columbo, Max Kitzmiller, Coleman Hazen, Viraat Das, Destiny Valaike, and Alia King; 3rd row Emily Lederman (Morgantown High School MARS Facilitator) and David Sokolov (Morgantown High School MARS Facilitator).  [Missing in photo is Cyrus Shahnam (Morgantown High School MARS Facilitator), Megan Weaver, and Samantha Weaver.] (Bottom right photo) Building robots is Megan Weaver, David Sokolov, Alia King, McKenna Cottrell, Lucy Thompson, Samantha Weaver, and Amber Dombrowski.

STEMPLOY’s A-STEM of Mind Techno-Robots Summer Camp held June 10-14, 2013 at the Mountaineer Area RoboticS (MARS) facility was a huge success in gaining interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM). The career-awareness summer-enrichment program incorporated Art infused STEM learning using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robotics. The week-long camp was attended by 16 middle school students and 3 high school mentors with activities ranging from design and programming robots to perform many tasks such as navigating through a maze of obstacles, dancing-bots, sumo-bots, and tug-o-war challenges. In addition, industry guest speakers talked to students about STEM fields of study in college and careers in robotics and computer programming. The students evaluated teams and certificates were awarded to the winning teams. The Mechanical Design Award went to Team Jalineers: Colin Columbo and Jacob Southern; the Robot Performance Award went to Team Super Minors: Max Kitzmiller and Chase Atkinson; the Innovative Solution Award went to Team Wires: McKenna Cottrell and Coleman Hazen; and the Professionalism Award went to Team Purple Panda: Amber Dombrowski and Destiny Valaike. In addition, all students received Certificates of Completion for participation in the robot challenges and successfully finishing the STEM program. Upcoming summer camps include the Physics of Music, July 8-12 and Cooking with Math, Aug. 5-9. For STEMPLOY program information call (304) 685-6530, send email to or visit us online at to learn more.