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Si Se Puede robotics team wins Impact Award

Chandler students use their STEM skills to prepare for technological future

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Students at the Si Se Puede STEM Center in Chandler are spending some of their spring break getting ready for the robotics competition this weekend at Cactus High School.

“We’re seeing what we can improve from the last competition and just practicing,” said Nancy Esquivel. “We programed the robot to raise an arm and move a wrist.”

The robot runs on four wheels and has a long extendable arm that can pick up cones and objects and place them into the proper place. The students built and programmed the robot themselves.

The team competes against other schools but it’s so much more than a game. It’s preparing the students for the workforce of tomorrow.

“You’ve seen as the world has evolved everything we do is related to technology,” said Glen Pohle, the Special Programs Coordinator with the Si Se Puede Foundation.

Si Se Puede Foundation is a nonprofit organization that offers STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) opportunities for underserved students in the Chandler and surrounding areas.

The stem skills the students learn will help them get on the path to high tech careers.

“I want to become a software engineer and major in computer science,” said Nancy Esquivel, a junior at Chandler High School.

“I have the intention of studying management information systems at U of A,” said Tanisha Baliga, a senior at Hamilton High School.

They also get to take their skills out of the lab and help the community – including a “Toy Jeep Hack” for kids with physical disabilities.

“We redid the wiring in such a way where we made certain parts more accessible. A lot of times on these toys the buttons are really small. So by making a bigger button so they can use a separate body part to operate that button,” said Baliga.

A great idea that won them the first Impact Award for making a difference in the community.

“I think the beauty of it all is that were able to use these skills transfer it to something else and truly make an impact on someone else’s life,” said Baliga.

The Impact Award makes them eligible to compete at the world championships next month in Houston.

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