Thirty students and eight science teachers from Gov. Sanford B. Dole Middle School in Honolulu learned how to build and program robotics from West Point cadets who exposed students to potential careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The unique partnership between CFES Brilliant Pathways, the United States Military Academy and Dole Middle gave students the opportunity to participate in hands-on STEM activities taught by West Point faculty and cadet mentors. Cadets helped 6-8th graders build robots and then program them to solve a real-life problem like helping people in a small village survive after a major hurricane.

The two-day West Point Robotics Workshop culminated with a robotics competition involving a spherical robot. “It was a very successful event with West Point Cadets and instructor Lori (Sheetz) with the Sphero robotic,” said Karlene Kauleinamoku, a teacher and CFES liaison. “The students and science teachers were mesmerized and totally focused on the robotics programming and competition.”

Students also learned about college readiness and the opportunities available to them after high school and college, especially in STEM-related fields. Sheetz, associate director for strategic plans & initiatives at West Point’s Center for Leadership and Diversity, emphasized the importance of having students participate in STEM workshops so they are exposed to 21st century jobs.

“This workshop is part of CFES’ expansive collaboration with West Point at sites across the country,” said CFES CEO Rick Dalton. “Middle school students are involved in these activities as part of our comprehensive plan to help them become college and career ready.”

CFES Brilliant Pathways is a nonprofit founded in 1991 that helps urban and rural students become college and career ready through Core Practices and programs that build Essential Skills and college and career knowledge. CFES currently serves 25,000 students in 30 states and Ireland.

Since 2013-14, 60 CFES Scholars have attended STEM camp at West Point and 800 have participated in robotics workshops that the West Point team has facilitated at schools like Dole.