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Brehm helps St. Mary’s set up robotics program (The Southern, Dec. 18, 2009)

By Adam Testa, The Southern | Posted: Friday, December 18, 2009 6:00 am

Students at St. Mary’s Parochial School in Mount Vernon have a new opportunity to learn skills and apply their knowledge in thanks to a new robotics program.

Tom Stachyra, an eighth grade teacher at St. Mary’s, said a formal class will be offered in the fourth quarter, but students had the chance to learn from the best earlier this week when Carbondale’s Brehm Preparatory School hosted a one-day workshop for St. Mary’s students.

“The ultimate goal is to further science and technology in the community,” said Joe Viscomi, who oversees Brehm’s robotics team, which placed second in a top-tier regional competition last year. “Our students were mentoring and guiding them through the workshop.”
Students from St. Mary’s were divided up into small groups and each was provided a set of parts and mechanisms and assigned a specific task their robot must complete. The Brehm students worked with their junior high peers to accomplish their goals and compete with the other groups.

While Brehm competes on a level with NASA and other major engineering firms, Viscomi hopes to help St. Mary’s enter lower-level competitions where they will have a chance to also represent Southern Illinois.

For Stachyra, the experience is about more than competition.
“We’re giving them some other options besides being a football player or their other dreams going into high school. We’re giving them something where they can envision something and make it happen,” he said, noting a low turnout of American engineers in today’s business environment.

“We’re giving them experiences that are out of the box.”

December 18th, 2009
Topic: Headline News, Professional Team Coverage, Robotics News Tags: None

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