LIHUE — Three of the Kauaibots robotics students recently earned their Computer Aid Design CSWA certification following months of training and study at the Kauaibots location at the Kukui Grove Center.
“This certification will now allow them to be hired for work by local businesses and start saving for college expenses,” said Charlene Steuri, adviser for the Kauai robotics program.
Isabella Kotsol, an 11th-grade student from Kapaa High School, Caleb Hartshorn, a 10th-grade home school student and Ben Brady, a 10th-grade student from Kauai High School successfully completed the tests and training for the certification, said Brian Catlin, a Kauaibots mentor and trainer for the students’ certification.
“This is a life path,” Catlin said. “We turned them into mechanical engineers. They gave up their Sundays to get their certifications. As part of the robotics team, these students will take over designing the robot for this year’s program which will start in January.”
Catlin said in previous robotics program, CAD certified mentors led the design process.
“Following the robotics program which will run until the end of March, the students are now able to get jobs to design pieces for businesses,” Catlin said. “There are a lot of companies who need people with CSWA certification to work on their plans. They don’t even need to be here because a lot of the work can be done through the Internet. Once we get through this year’s robotics, I’ll work on getting them tuned in to opportunities.”
Catlin, who has a background in engineering, including software, electrical and mechanical, said students are always welcome to drop in on the further educational opportunities each Sunday at the Kauaibots space situated next to Game Stop at the Kukui Grove Center.
“We meet from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.,” Catlin said. “In the mornings, we concentrate on math. Following a break for lunch, we work on mechanical engineering in the afternoons.”
Catlin said the certification process is rigorous and expensive.
“In summary, they give you a bunch of numbers and specifications, and it’s up to the students to figure it out within a specified time frame,” he said. “Our students did all of this well within the time allocated. The license for the software is $10,000 a year, but it does cover students, so they get to be trained under our license.”
Monte Eisemann, an 11th-grade student at Kauai High School, was eager to get Catlin’s help.
“Yes,” Eisemann said. “This is mind boggling. It kind of makes my head hurt, but that means I must be learning something. These are skills I will use some time in my life.”