Jonas was a 2017 graduate of Belle Vernon High School and Mon Valley CTC. During his early high school years, Jonas was struggling to connect with his school and learning. This created a lot of anxiety for him and ultimately led Jonas to skipping classes.
During his junior year, he got involved with the BotsIQ team at his school and he and his teacher quickly learned that he had a passion and an aptitude for this work. This led to his senior year and a co-op relationship with his BotsIQ industry advisor, Ductmate Industries.
Jonas graduated from high school and was hired by Ductmate where he continues to learn new skills and advance within the company. This fall, we are excited to report that Jonas has entered the Sheet Metal Apprenticeship and continues to thrive at Ductmate.
Garrett graduated from Clairton High School in 2013. A three year member of his high school’s BotsIQ team, Garrett can regularly be seen returning to competitions as a volunteer safety inspector or pit monitor. Most recently, he can be seen on the 2018 season of Battlebots as a member of Team Huge.
“I really enjoyed the push that combat robotics (BotsIQ) gave me to learn new skills such as design and fabrication,” Garrett said. “Before starting the program, I was always tinkering and fixing things, but I never had much experience with the design and fabrication and learning to build robots really pushed me develop these skills.”
BotsIQ reaffirmed his decision to pursue engineering after high school and prepare Garrett for his participation on Battlebots. “BotsIQ first challenged me to acquire the fundamental knowledge needed to compete at a level like Battlebots. Without BotsIQ, I may have never got into combat robotics,” Garrett stated.
Alex was a four-year member of Hempfield Area High School’s BotsIQ team. He went on to attend and graduate from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. While there, he was the student president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and interned at Curtiss Wright. Recently, Alex was hired at Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory as an engineer.
“My time spent with Bots IQ led to some of my greatest high school memories. The knowledge gained during my time in the program, helped me not only in my undergraduate studies, but also in my internship experiences. I am very appreciative of every challenge and opportunity that I had. Each opportunity helped me to grow as a person, as a scholar, and as a leader. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for all of those who dedicated countless time and energy for the benefit of my learning. Specifically, I would like to thank Mr. Craig Siniawski (Hempfield Area Senior High School Instructor), Composidie EDM Services, and my family.”
A 2014 graduate from Greater Latrobe Senior High School, Maddie was a participant on their school’s BotsIQ team for three years. Maddie recently graduated from Kent State University in May 2018 with a degree in applied engineering and mechatronics. She currently works at Waupaca Foundry as an inventory controller near Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Maddie attributes her career pathway to participating in the BotsIQ program. “If it wasn’t for being part of my high school’s BotsIQ team, I would have never found the love I have for robotics. I probably would not have picked engineering as a degree or even went to Kent State.”
Maddie and Greater Latrobe High School were partnered with a local manufacturer, L&S Machine. Maddie enjoyed the relationships that she made with her industry advisor. “Working with L&S has really shown me how to communicate with companies in a professional manner and what it takes to make sure you as a team can work around a schedule,” says Maddie. “Companies have harder schedules to work with than the team does, so working with a company can teach the members how to work under a time crunch very well. These are things everyone will encounter in the workforce.”
Maddie enjoyed her experience with BotsIQ so much that she started a collegiate team at Kent State with their robotics club and participated in several National Robotics League competitions throughout her time in college.
Sean is a BotsIQ and Springdale High School alum. After high school, Sean went on to receive his training at New Century Careers’ Manufacturing 2000 (M2K) tuition-free training program. Within 5 months, Sean was hired and working at Hamill Manufacturing full time and within the first year of employment, received a 30% raise in salary.
Shortly after beginning his career, Sean started with the NTMA Apprenticeship program. In less than two years from high school graduation, Sean had already earned seven National Institute for Metalworking Skills credentials.
Sean reports, “BotsIQ exposed me to the hands-on work of manufacturing. I realized I had something to put my heart into with machining and engineering. Hamill has given me a place to look forward to each day. The possibilities are endless in machining, manufacturing, and Hamill.”
A 2018 graduate from Punxsutawney Area High School, Kolton found his career path from his experience with BotsIQ. Kolton joined the team after he came to the Finals Competition on his school’s spirit bus in 8th grade.
As a member of Punxsutawney’s BotsIQ team for four years, Kolton says, “BotsIQ made me want to start a job in manufacturing. So I went and got hired.” In June before his senior year, Kolton started working for Jefferson Machine doing cleanup around the shop; then in January, they started him working with the machines.
From his BotsIQ team interview the year before, Kolton learned about the Manufacturing 2000 (M2K) short term machinist training program at New Century Careers and decided he wanted to get more experience on the lathe and advance within the company. Since graduating, Kolton applied and was accepted into the M2K program and drives to Pittsburgh from Punxsutawney twice a week to attend evening classes, while continuing to work with Jefferson Machine.
Upon completion of M2K, Kolton will earn at least a Level II training certificate from New Century Careers and at least two National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentials.
Aaron is a BotsIQ alum who is currently employed as a shop technician with AlphaLab, an incubator for early-stage technology companies in Pittsburgh, PA. He was a member of Baldwin’s robotics team all four years of high school. Working with the team’s industry advisor sparked his interest in pursuing a manufacturing career.
While still in school, Aaron designed and made a line of cat toys that he sold (at a profit) to area pet stores and at special events such as Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh. For these efforts, he was named the 2017 Regional Young Entrepreneur of the Year from Ernst & Young.
This young innovator participated in the startup accelerator AlphaLab for another business he created called DuraNotebook. Since graduating from Baldwin High School in 2017, Aaron is working to grow his wooden notebook business into a 3D printing company.
His advice to future BotsIQ students is to take full advantage of each opportunity the program provides. Aaron certainly did and we can’t wait to see what he does next!