PCDS Senior Connects Robotics and Biochemistry

Senior Kaleab Afework will attend Rice University this fall, majoring in Biochemistry. His experience with robotics was the deciding factor in choosing his major and university. Kaleab was introduced to robotics as a middle school student at PCDS and has held leadership positions in the program ever since. As Captain of the program in middle school, and Shop Manager (10th grade), CFO (11th grade), and President (12th grade) he has taken the PCDS Robotics Team, Blue Tide Robotics, to multiple national and international competitions.

Q: What makes you so passionate about robotics?
A: I got really hooked on robotics when I first visited the robotics shop at PCDS. When I walked into the room and saw welders, a milling machine, lathe, and band saws I knew I wasn’t playing with Legos any longer. I was intrigued by the raw form of metal. What I was learning in science carried over to practical life applications and I saw how it fit into the physical form of robotics.

Q: So why study biology rather than robotics?
A: Two reasons. First, I am fascinated by biology and how robotics and biology are related. I realized that both are avenues to explain how things connect and how they can fix one another. This realization has influenced my decision to study cardio thoracic surgery. The combination of engineering and biology allow us to understand how things work and how to fix them. The other reason is the influence from my mother. Coming from Ethiopia, her determination to study medicine and become an RN is inspiring. Her interaction with patients has motivated me to take an approach to robotics through medicine.

Q: What’s new in Robotics this year at PCDS?
A: Last year, the Blue Tide Robotics team qualified for the international tournament in Houston and we did very well. However, our team of six members was really small compared to the other teams at the competition. We learned that we had to increase our numbers to have a chance at future trophies. We promoted our program to fellow students by explaining the benefits of belonging to the club and how you will learn important life skills. We now have 30 members on our team and looking forward to our next international tournament!

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