Victoria area high school students interested in learning how to use advanced robotic tools, programming, engineering and artificial intelligence have an opportunity to take a free virtual course built around the topics this year at the University of Houston-Victoria.

Students can now apply for the 2020-2021 UHV Robotics, Programming and Simulation Course, a free, virtual after-school robotics program. Up to eight high school students will be selected for the program, which will be similar to previous in-person robotics courses offered to high school students at UHV. The course is funded by a grant from Alcoa Foundation.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for high school students to enrich their science education and dive into areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Beverly Tomek, interim dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “We all continue to work toward helping students achieve a bright and innovative future.”

High school students from freshmen to seniors are eligible to apply for the free course. Students will be selected at the end of September.

Although the course is being offered virtually because of COVID-19, students still will learn a lot, said Amjad Nusayr, a UHV assistant professor of computer science and the computer science program director.

“Students selected for this course are promised an exciting and enriching experience,” Nusayr said. “We are fortunate to have supporters like Alcoa Foundation who continue to invest in the youth who live in our area and the future.”

The course will be scheduled once a week after school beginning Oct. 5 through April and will take place through Microsoft Teams. Students will work in groups of four through Teams with one of two UHV student instructors, Jordan Mendez and Randall Jasek. Each session will be an hour and a half. The students chosen for the camp will be able to check out a robotics kit to take home and use during the virtual course. Students will feature what they have learned during a showcase in the spring.

Mendez, a UHV senior majoring in computer science, said he used the same kits when he was in high school. The Victoria resident is proficient in multiple programming languages such as C++ and Java. This is the second time he has worked as an instructor for the course.

Jasek, a native of Palacios, also is a UHV senior studying computer science who is proficient in C++ and Java. This is the third time he will be an instructor for the course.

Jasek said he enjoys helping students learn more about programming software and robotics. He also attended a 2014 UHV robotics camp as a high school student.

“The robotics camp I attended in high school sparked my interest in coming to UHV and pursuing one of the programs here,” Jasek said. “It’s been a great honor to serve and teach students the same programming and hopefully inspire them to keep exploring robotics and computer science.”

To apply for the UHV Robotics, Programming and Simulation Course, go to

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(1) comment

Glenn Wilson

Good. By this time next year there will be a whole lot more people in Victoria who know what a "teach pendant" is. Always a valuable piece of information to have.[beam]

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