KGSP Custom Program Highlight
This past summer, 23 KGSP students attended a customized program at University of California, Irvine (UCI) where they worked on interactive multi-disciplinary projects under the supervision of UCI faculty and of industry mentors with backgrounds in electric vehicles and medical devices. Students were tasked to design, build, and test either an autonomous rover that could traverse along a track without collisions and recognize and retrieve objects; or an autonomous fitness tracker that performs step counting and elevation tracking. These projects gave the students hands-on experience developing skills in project management, 3D printing and laser design, electric circuitry, app writing, and computer programming. Students also participated in STEM-related thematic seminars and supplemental career development workshops. At the program conclusion, the students that constructed autonomous rovers competed to see which of theirs could travel the fastest and accurately pick up objects.
Lamar Alsubhi, a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Computer Science, gained worthwhile and applicable skills during her time at the UCI custom program. As one of the students assigned to create the autonomous rover, she was chosen to serve as the team leader, and embraced this leadership position with great resolve. Lamar expressed that, “As the team leader, I learned how to set small goals for my team to make the task seem less overwhelming and how to encourage my team to tackle tasks they had limited experience in.” Not only did Lamar learn how to effectively manage a project team, but she also was able to apply her knowledge of programming in the assembling of the autonomous rover’s computer software. She stated that, “Working on this project helped me gain the experience of taking into account real-life physics, circuitry, sensory detection, physical design, and many essential aspects.”
Her KGSP Advisor, Monica Matais, praises Lamar for her accomplishments at UCI. “Lamar is a passionate individual. Her drive and ambition serve as inspiration to others. She was able to put her leadership skills to the test this summer where she was not only the only female on the project but served as the group leader and led her group to 1st place. I am excited to see how Lamar continues to share her light with others as she moves through her undergraduate career at Boston University.”
KGSP custom programs provide students the opportunity to engage in stimulating research and project-based experiences that hone their skills, reinforce the lessons learned at their academic universities, and lead them to scholastic achievement that helps them stand out amongst other university peers and to potential career and research prospects. When they return to their respective universities, they will have further developed their expertise in their fields and obtained confidence to pursue additional enrichment activities in the future.
“With the experience that the program gave me, this fall, I’m looking forward to joining my university’s robotics club. The program made me realize just how fun and rewarding projects like this can be,” Lamar stated.
KGSP students building autonomous rover