UCR Library’s First Robotics Camp for Undergrads is Underway

Participants will build robots and learn AI basics through hands-on activities

This summer, the UCR Library is hosting its first-ever robotics camp for undergraduate students led by Maker Services Coordinator Brendon Wheeler and Innovative Media Librarian Alvaro Alvarez.

The month-long camp began Monday, June 17 and aims to provide hands-on experience in robotics and artificial intelligence, giving students from science and non-science backgrounds an opportunity to explore these cutting-edge fields in a collaborative and supportive environment.

Brendon and Alvaro, who both previously worked at the University of La Verne, drew inspiration for the UCR summer robotics camp from a K-12 summer camp they were involved with at La Verne. They wanted to create a similar but more advanced experience for undergraduates.

“The focus of our camp is on the fundamentals of robotics, AI, and computer science. We want to offer a deeper dive into these areas than typical K-12 programs,” Brendon explained.

The camp has attracted a diverse group of around 20 students with backgrounds ranging from physics to art. This diversity reflects the growing interest in robotics and AI among today’s students.

Sessions are held twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, with additional time set aside for team projects. The camp kicked off with Python programming workshops in collaboration with Data Librarian Kat Koziar. Students are introduced to the basics of Python before moving on to build and program robots using the SunFounder Kit. This hands-on approach encourages critical thinking and problem-solving as students modify existing code to understand how and why it works.

While this year’s camp serves as a trial run, Brendon has high hopes for the future. He envisions the UCR Library becoming a significant player in robotics and AI projects on campus, potentially leading to groundbreaking innovations. The current camp is just the beginning, with hopes to expand and refine the program in the coming years.