DENVER, Colo. — As participants in the National Security Agency's (NSA) K-12 Engagement Program, a group from National Security Agency Colorado (NSAC) spent the past year working on robotics with students at the Robert F. Smith Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) Academy, the newest high school in the Denver Public School system.
A partner in the school’s Enrichment Program, the NSAC team of mathematicians, data scientists, and engineers spent three days a week this past semester mentoring the students and helping with the robotics project.
Throughout the year, the NSAC team worked with the students on programming basics, robotics, circuit boards, and Python code implementation. This semester they added a cybersecurity week that included a German ENIGMA demonstration and discussions about using strong passwords as well as encryption.
The NSAC team also shared with the students their background, their path to the Agency, and the benefits to working for NSA. Derrick Anthony, Workforce Support Activities deputy director at NSAC, joined the team and shared his path to leadership.
“Representing NSA to the next the generations is an honor within itself,” Anthony said. “Observing the students’ confidence, teaming, and leadership skills develop as they work together to build robots is awesome.”
At the end of the program, the students presented their final projects at an event which showcased the multiple robots and their programmable abilities. The robots used infrared and touch sensors to navigate student-constructed mazes with varying terrain and elevation. The students showed the ability to design, program, troubleshoot, problem solve, test and evaluate, and work in teams.
NSA's K-12 academic engagement programs aim to inspire, inform, and engage students to develop interests and critical skills used throughout NSA, Department of Defense and Intelligence Community missions. Schools can obtain more information about our programs by visiting NSA.gov/Academics.