Sharing the thrill of engineering
As a leader of Robotics for All, freshman Garrett Tieng is helping pull more youth into STEM
By John Garcia ’21
Garrett Tieng ’24 threw himself into robotics in high school, reading up on strategies and collaborating with friends on his Botball team. But he did more than explore his own passion for engineering. He found ways to open doors for others.
At age 15, Tieng became a teacher for Robotics for All, a collective of volunteers launched by a former high school robotics teammate in Palo Alto, California. The non-profit group provides free STEM classes and robotics training to youth who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Now a first year at the Case School of Engineering, Tieng is the vice president and chief operating officer of a crusade with impact.
Since its start in 2017, Robotics for All has grown to encompass more than 220 volunteers like himself. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 K-8th grade student have been trained through its online and in-person (pre-pandemic) courses. Tieng oversees the development of curricula for online coding classes and is anxious to return to a live classroom environment. He’d love to again see children learning the fundamentals of robotics with Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits.
“It was such a joy to be able to share my passion with students who otherwise may not have been able to experience robotics,” he said.
As a volunteer instructor, Tieng discovered a love for teaching. He would like to bring Robotics for All to more underserved communities. Tieng created a Board of Directors to lend the organization more structure and helped transition to remote classes when Covid-19 hit. In the summer of 2020, he directed the development of online classes in Fundamentals of Programming, Python and Scratch.
Meanwhile, he continues to explore engineering as a mechanical and aerospace engineering major and as a member of the Case Aeronautics Team, where he helps design planes for competitions and memes with friends.
If engineering schools find more STEM-enthused youth in the years ahead, it may well be because of recruiters like Garrett Tieng.
Learn more about Robotics for All HERE.