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Gifted teenagers headed for MARS

Gifted teenagers headed for MARS

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Gifted teenagers headed for MARS

Twenty-five gifted pupils from the Wellington region are set to embark on a trip to MARS.

The University is about to launch the Massey Robot Society (MARS), with its first intake of gifted teenagers nominated by their schools to take part in six weeks of training from lecturers in electronics, computer systems, mathematics and engineering.

Project head, robotics professor Gurvinder Singh Virk (pictured) has high hopes for the society.

“It’s about engagement with young people and with the wider community,” Professor Virk says. “It’s also about what engineering is, the importance of it, and to simply excite some interest in it.”

He wants them to learn proper engineering concepts, and have real hands-on experiences through the society. "We have to make it fun for them but not talk down to them. We want it to be serious fun.”

Already 60 are registered and more applications are arriving, meaning a second intake will likely be arranged for October.

“You could say they’re on a waiting list for Mars,” Professor Virk says.

After six weeks of training the students work on open-ended robot design and building projects – and work to formalise an operating structure for MARS, which will eventually be a student-run society.


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