MnDRIVE Scholars: Driven to educate

Inventing Tomorrow, Winter 2020

MnDRIVE student scholars aim to spread a love for—and access to—STEM education

With the rising profile of youth organizations, like FIRST Robotics, and STEM programs in schools, access to science education and careers is increasing. The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is doing its part as well.

Each year, CSE’s K–12 outreach events, enrichment programs, and summer camps reach about 50,000 youth. In addition to annual favorites that draw masses from all walks of life—such as Physics Force, Energy & U, and rotating activities at the Minnesota State Fair—the college is home to the little known MnDRIVE Scholars program that’s teaching children and teenagers more about robotics.

We spoke with CSE students Dario Canelon, Geneva Doak, Dat Nguyen, and Laura Irvine about the importance of STEM outreach and why they chose to become MnDRIVE Scholars.

The students—who apply for a MnDRIVE Scholars undergraduate or graduate assistantship position—work closely with local schools and community groups to plan, run, and improve on interactive activities that give youth a creative space to explore robotics and programming.