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Bulls-EYE Program at Turner/Bartles K-8 Mentors Students in STEM - By Jessica Vander Velde

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hirteen-year-old Yannisse Marquez wants to be an engineer – but she thought she was only good at imagining potential creations. This spring, with the help of a group of student mentors from USF College of Engineering’s Bulls-EYE program, Yannisse discovered she could also make her ideas a reality. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, Yannisse built a speedy little robot that she named Wall-E. It got secondplace in the race portion of the competition at the afterschool Bulls-EYE program at Turner/Bartels K-8. “It was really exciting,” she said with a big smile. ”I didn’t think I could build it. I didn’t know I had the potential for it.” Ten students participated in the four-week Bulls-EYE pilot program, led by USF mechanical engineering instructor Jonathan Gaines and mathematics education doctoral student Jessica Alyce Wilson. That program and a five-week summer program are funded by Motorola Solutions Foundation. Bulls-EYE was Gaines’ idea, born of a STEM mentoring program he ran in Virginia that used kites to teach students about flight. Gaines’ goal is to excite middle school students about a future in STEM. The focus of the four-week program was robotics, and he plans to add a computer science component in the summer. Gaines also hopes to

From left to right: (Back row) Deonte Cooper, Mario Montoya, Sabrina Salomon, Sofia Dao, Karol Colon, Manuel Gomez. (Front row) Jorge Arias, William Gonzalez, Gerardo Sanchez, Jonathan Franco. inspire USF undergraduates in the College of Engineering, getting them involved as mentors. He is targeting groups typically less represented in engineering: black and Hispanic students, as well as females. “Research shows that building relationships can help,” he said. “The students get a sense of belonging. We really want to target those kids who are diamonds in the rough – who don’t even realize they have skills as problem-solvers.” The spring pilot program at Turner/Bartels helped Gaines,

Left: Mentor Gerardo Sanchez helps Gabriel Garbutt construct a robot. Right: Mentee Krystal Mujica-Soto admires her latest creation.

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USF Envision Magazine Spring 2015  
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