Robotics Updates in Baton Rouge

Written by: Krista Scafidel

Recently, the Society of Peer Mentors had the opportunity to reach out into the community and share what we have been working on. Reaching out into the community is a way for us as engineering students to inspire the future generations of STEM graduates.  The amount of jobs in the STEM career field is constantly expanding, therefore we need to help prepare students for the field. Having community outreaches is very critical for this. Outreaches allow students to learn about what is going on in the field while getting to experience it hands on.  This past week we were able to present “Peggy,” our 3 Day Robot, at two events: The Louisiana Art and Science Museum’s Engineering Day and Lee High School’s Robotics Open House.

During Louisiana Art and Science Museum’s Engineering Day, we were able to teach students of all ages about the FIRST program and how they can get involved at their local schools. We also brought Peggy and allowed students to see what is involved in the building process and how the scoring mechanisms operate. This gave the students and parents an opportunity to ask any questions that they had about robotics and the Society of Peer Mentors, while inspiring them to become involved in STEM.

Lee High has a FIRST Robotics team that designed a robot for competition. The robot was designed to play the same game as Peggy (FIRST Robotics, Steamworks). The team hosted a showcase to show the community what the students have worked on and accomplished over the six week build period. During this time, we were able to talk with the students and parents about the our program and Peggy’s purpose as they prepare to transition into the collegiate level.


Mentor Spotlight: Marlou de Guzman

This week we are putting a spotlight on one of our graduating mentors, Marlou de Guzman.

Marlou is a Graduating Senior in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Robotics, Digital Media, and Chinese. He was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and enjoys music, sports, and tinkering. He has pursued 2 internships at GE. He is a 5-time recipient of the Brookshire Scholarship, the President of Bengal Reauxbotics, as well as holding multiple leadership positions throughout college. His goals for the next few years is to begin his Electrical Engineering career, start a company, and invent something revolutionary.

What is your favorite part about being a robotics mentor?

The best part of being a robotics mentor is seeing the joy that robotics brings to everyone involved.

How has being a robotics mentor impacted you personally and/or professionally (i.e.: internships, leadership skills, etc.)?

Being a robotics mentor has helped me in obtaining my first internship with GE. It also helped me be able to lead robotics teams beyond VEX, while exposing me to handle conflict situations, being professional, and how to interact with different personalities

What do you think it means to be a robotics mentor?

A robotics mentor serves as a model for younger generations in how to begin thinking like an engineer. We also introduce professionalism and help them transition to higher education.

Mentor Spotlight: Matthew Byrne

This week we are putting a spotlight on one of our veteran mentors, Matt Byrne.

Matt Byrne is a Senior in Mechanical Engineering. He is originally from Metairie, Louisiana and enjoys painting, reading, playing video games, building robots, and watching movies. Matt is an eagle scout, the first in his family to be exact. His goals for the next few years is to graduate as a Mechanical Engineer and go on a North American Adventure. After spending some time traveling, we wants to work in the engineering industry.

What is your favorite part about being a robotics mentor?

The best part of being a robotics mentor is the look on a student’s face when they see what they have created. The joy that comes from seeing a student experiencing that “Oh WOW!” moment from learning something new or being acknowledge for their work is why I continue to do this year after year.

How has being a robotics mentor impacted you personally and/or professionally (i.e.: internships, leadership skills, etc.)?

In terms of leadership, being a robotics mentor has taught me to step back and see the bigger picture of events. It has taught me patience when working with others (especially younger students and peers) and how to smile through difficult situations. This program has taught me how to dial back on my hyperactivity and be more patient, discerning, and most of all hold myself to a higher standard.

What do you think it means to be a robotics mentor?

It is one thing to be a mentor. Usually, we fit a mold of good-hearted professionals who want to give back. Though that is true, being a robotics mentor is so much more. It is not just outreach, but personal investment and commitment with a group of students. We work to show them what they can engineer, design, and fabricate themselves through sharing your own knowledge and experiences. It is wanting to give students in any school or program an opportunity that you, personally, may not have had so that they can be inspired to engineer their own bright future.

How has being a Robotics Mentor Impacted You?

As robotics mentors, we work to help teams and students succeed in their robotics programs. Our goal is to inspire students with regards to STEM, but these programs are not the only one’s impacted. Our mentors are impacted and influenced by working with this program. This semester we polled each mentor to ask them how being a robotics mentor has impacted them. Check out their responses below!!

Being a robotics mentor has helped me by giving me a way to gain experience as a mentor and leader, which has opened the door to opportunities for me such as Google’s Ignite Computer Science Program.
Jonathan Nguyen – Computer Science, Senior

Being a robotics mentor has helped with leadership skills. Although the students I work with are younger and the issues faced aren’t always necessarily what I would face in a leadership position with a company, the conflict resolution skills still apply and help me make decisions.
Matthew Hasse – Computer Engineering, Senior

Has been a very fun experience thus far! I’ve gained further appreciation for engineering and learned that helping others helps myself.
Peter Nguyen – Electrical Engineering, Freshman

Being a robotics mentor has had a major impact on my education. Being a mentor has allowed me to think outside of the box. When a student designs a mechanism, you are presented with the challenge of making their idea a reality . Therefore, using what I have learned thus far to help create a mechanism that fulfills their design.”
Krista Scafidel – Mechanical Engineering, Junior

Being a robotics mentor opened many doors for me. I got my first internship because of this program. It has really helped me develop my professionalism and increased my network.”
Marlou de Guzman – Electrical Engineering, Senior

Let’s me put my schooling to practice. It also helped me get jobs!”
Brett Dupree – Mechanical Engineering, Sophomore

Being a robotics mentor has taught me more than I could have predicted, and not just including the literal mechanics behind constructing a robot. I have further developed my analytical and problem solving skills, while getting to experience the joys of the unpredictability and growth from collaborating with high school students each week.
Julie Reinecke – Electrical Engineering, Senior

This program  has inspired me to be a better person, a better leader, and a better professional. It has also made me look at the bigger picture in terms of what we do here. What we do isn’t just mentoring or leading, it is showing kids a brighter future through engineering, science, technology and math and what they can do themselves.”
Matthew Byrne – Mechanical Engineering, Senior