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Pinedale Online > News > November 2007 > Big Piney High School Robotics Club

Matt and Cass. Photo by Steve Nelson.
Matt and Cass
Matt Guio (L) and Cass Urbigkit (R) are members of the Big Piney High School Robotics Club. Photo provided by Steve Nelson.

Matt Guio-Cass Urbigkit. Photo by Steve Nelson.
Matt Guio-Cass Urbigkit
Big Piney High School Robotics Club members Matt Guio and Cass Urbigkit work on their robot. Photo provided by Steve Nelson.
Big Piney High School Robotics Club
Psyched up for its second year
by Big Piney High School Robotics Club
November 14, 2007

(Big Piney) – The Big Piney High School Robotics Club (BPRC) offers students a high-tech approach to education. With support from EnCana Oil & Gas as the club corporate sponsor, the BPRC is getting ready, and getting psyched for its second year.

“The Robotics Club involves students in an after school program where they can be involved in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics program,” said Steve Nelson, BPRC sponsor and science and physics teacher at the high school.

According to Nelson, FIRST programs are innovative programs that help students discover that science and technology can be fun. Students build self-confidence, leadership and life skills to be able to pursue educational and career opportunities.

The Robotics Club is open to all students. As a member, students have the opportunity to learn about robotics, build a robot that will solve a problem and learn how to program the robots.

“The club fosters leadership, and I enjoy the fact that we’re using our minds to solve problems, but are still having quite a bit of fun,” said student member Matt Guio. “The practices are low stress, but everyone still does as much as they can because it all pays off at the competition. I can’t wait until we finish our robots so that we can try them out on the new court that we built.”

Last year, five students attended the regional competition at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. and won the Amaze award.

“These students found it to be a fabulous experience and with their enthusiasm, have created more interest in our high school for the club,” said Nelson. “This year we have two teams taking a robot to regional competition.”

“Competing last year was a great experience. It’s pretty exciting, the crowd and competitors really get into it,” said Guio. “You can’t predict what’s going to happen in the competition so teams really have to try and think of everything that could wrong beforehand. Robots can break and teams have to change their strategies and make last minute adjustments. While the competition is tough, almost everybody is there to support each other and there’s always great teamwork between teams.”

“This is a very worthwhile program,” said Nelson. “Several students who participated in the program last year have expressed an increased desire to pursue studies in science and engineering fields.”

“The Robotics Club has been a great way to test the waters of engineering,” said Guio. “I’ve tried out ideas and really gotten a better picture of what a career in technology and engineering would be like. The Robotics Club is a great way to gain practical experience in coming up with a design and then taking that idea and making it work in real life.”

Guio praises Nelson for the time and energy he has devoted to the BPRC. “Mr. Nelson always supports our ideas and allows us to build what we want. He’s also a great resource for ideas and keeps the environment fun. He’s put in a lot of time and is just as excited about doing well as the students.”

EnCana is an active promoter of sciences, trades and technology programs. “We are happy to support a club that offers a hands-on learning experience designed to engage students in learning practical applications of science, engineering and technology,” said EnCana Jonah Field Operations Leader Chris House.

“EnCana has been an amazing source of support for us and we really couldn’t do it without them. Their funding has allowed us to purchase additional materials so we can bring two teams to our competition this year,” said Guio. “The school’s lost funding for extracurricular activities and we probably wouldn’t have this club without EnCana’s help.”

“We truly appreciate EnCana being the club’s Corporate Sponsor,” said Nelson. “It’s my hope that this become an ongoing program here in Big Piney and that we can spread interest in other Wyoming high schools.”

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