Thyeasha Joseph normally spends her day as a process engineer for Kimberly Clark, but she recently took some personal time to volunteer as a mentor for Troup County School System (TCSS) students participating in SLAM.
“One day I was at work and one of our electrical engineers mentioned this camp. On another occasion, my boss mentioned the camp. I thought it would be a great idea to mentor the students because I used to do robotics in school and adult mentors made a difference,” said Joseph.
SLAM is a one week summer learning opportunity housed on the campus of THINC College & Career Academy. There, students were immersed into the life of robotics and advanced manufacturing organizations within Troup County. During the morning hours the future engineers built robots that were primed to possibly win a competition. They spent the afternoons visiting local businesses.
Joseph said the skills students learned will be invaluable to their future. She said, “They picked up a lot of soft skills; teambuilding, communications, and hands-on experience. They were also learning the basics (of engineering) such as how to use a screw, what’s a bolt, and what’s a hex head. This was the first time for many of them interacting with robotics. All of these elements were important.”
While visiting the organizations, high school students received information about future employment opportunities, the advanced manufacturing environment, and workforce expectations such as timeliness and continuing education. As the students went through the manufacturing plant tours, they were expected to connect what they were completing in class and compare it to what they saw on the company floor. The companies that sponsored tours included: Duracell Milliken KIA Trackmobile At the conclusion of camp, business representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations met at THINC to witness the student-built robots go head-to-head in a friendly competition. They served as judges for the afternoon event.